'Shocked' China launches probe into WADA doping allegations

BEIJING Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:18pm IST

A doping control area is seen at the National Aquatics Centre, also known as the Water Cube, prior to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 5, 2008. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/Files

A doping control area is seen at the National Aquatics Centre, also known as the Water Cube, prior to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 5, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay/Files

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China will investigate claims that virtually all the raw materials used to produce illegal performance-enhancing drugs come from the country, even if they have serious reservations about their accuracy, state media said on Tuesday.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) director general David Howman told Reuters in an interview last week that "ninety-nine percent" of the materials used by criminal gangs around the world to make the drugs were emanating from China.

"We are shocked at Mr. Howman's comment," Jiang Zhixue, the head of anti-doping at China's sports ministry, told the official Xinhua news agency.

"We are wondering where this 99 percent came from and what is his evidence. We have asked for a more detailed explanation from WADA."

Jiang said the probe would require coordination from various ministries as had happened in a crackdown on the manufacture and sale of banned performance-enhancing substances in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

China's record on doping at elite levels of sport improved markedly after Beijing won the right to hold the 2008 Games, a far cry from the 1990s when the country's rise to sporting superpower was accompanied by regular scandals. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Patrick Johnston)

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