China to punish athletic doping as criminal offence

China’s sports administration and top judicial authority are drafting rules that would apply criminal law to doping cases. (File/AFP)
Updated 29 December 2018
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China to punish athletic doping as criminal offence

  • Doping scandals have riddled China's international sporting record in the past decade, with some athletes stripped of Olympic gold medals
  • "It is our will to show the world we are really serious about anti-doping, and are taking concrete measures on fight against doping," Gou Zhongwen, director of China's sports administration, said

BEIJING: Chinese athletes who use performance-enhancing drugs will receive criminal punishments and jail terms from next year, as China cracks down on doping ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, state media reported.
China's sports administration and top judicial authority are drafting rules that would apply criminal law to doping cases, official news agency Xinhua said Friday.
Citing remarks made at a Friday meeting by Gou Zhongwen, director of China's sports administration, Xinhua said that the new anti-doping punishments will be put into effect "probably in early 2019".
"It is our will to show the world we are really serious about anti-doping, and are taking concrete measures on fight against doping," Gou said.
China's sports administration told AFP it could not confirm Xinhua's report.
Doping scandals have riddled China's international sporting record in the past decade, with some athletes stripped of Olympic gold medals.
In January 2017, three Chinese women's weightlifting gold medallists at the 2008 Beijing Olympics were disqualified and stripped of their medals for doping following a reanalysis of their drug tests.
Later that year, a Chinese doctor claimed that there had been a systematic doping programme in China during the 1980s and 1990s across a range of sports, in an interview with German media.
All medals won by Chinese athletes at major international tournaments in the last two decades of the 20th century are tainted by doping, alleged the whistleblower, Xue Yinxian.
This year, China banned several of its own athletes who were found to have used performance-enhancing drugs, as Beijing works to clean up its international sporting reputation.
In January, a Chinese speed skater was handed a two-year ban and struck off the national team ahead of the Pyeongchang Games in South Korea.
That same month, China's national marathon champion and Olympian Wang Jiali was banned for eight years after failing a drugs test, her second violation.


Saudi Arabia to face Japan in Asian Cup second round after defeat to Qatar

Updated 17 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia to face Japan in Asian Cup second round after defeat to Qatar

  • A double from Almoez Ali means Qatar top Group E.
  • Juan Antonio Pizzi's men now face Japan in second round on Monday.

LONDON: Saudi Arabia now know they will have to overcome Japan in the second round if they are to keep their hopes of a fourth Asian Cup title alive. 

A 2-0 defeat at the hands of Qatar meant Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men finished second in Group E — both sides went into the top-of-the-table clash knowing they had already secured a spot in the knockout stages. 

A brace from Almoez Ali in Abu Dhabi was enough to give Qatar the three points and leave them top of the group. 

From the kick-off the Green Falcons were the ones who looked the more likely to make the initial breakthrough —  Fahad Almuwallad slamming a right-foot shot against the post after 22 minutes.

Qatar captain Hasan Al-Haydos then missed a penalty in the 42nd minute after Ali had been clattered in the box.

But Ali, who scored four goals in Qatar's 6-0 rout of North Korea last weekend, made no mistake in first-half stoppage time.

He calmly slotted the ball past Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais to become the first player to score six goals in a single Asian Cup since South Korea's Lee Dong-gook in 2000.

Ali subsequently headed in a seventh goal of the tournament 10 minutes from time, celebrating with a jig of delight.

While the defeat was not ideal Green Falcons coach Pizzi said he was still hopeful Saudi Arabia would be able to go far in the tournament. 

"It was an intense game but we have to hide our feelings and prepare for the last 16," Pizzi said.

"We were missing quality in the final third and individual errors have cost us," he added.

"But we will bounce back. I respect every team left in the competition, including Japan, but I don't feel that we are inferior to them in any way."

Qatar, who have never gone beyond the quarterfinals, advance to face Iraq in the last 16.