Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

China swimmer Ye Shiwen 'clean' says Olympic chief

Shiwen Ye of China celebrates with her gold medal during the Medal Ceremony for the Women's 400m Individual Medley on Day 1 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 28, 2012
Lord Moynihan said Ye deserved recognition of her talent
Queen Elizabeth II (left) makes a speech at the Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY

British Olympic Association chairman Lord Moyinhan hit out this morning at those who had raised suspicions about Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen, after a leading coach described her world-record breaking race as "disturbing".

Lord Moyinhan said: "We know how on top of the game WADA are and WADA have passed her as clean. That's the end of the story.

"And it is regretable there is so much speculation out there.

"I don't like it. I think it is wrong. That athlete or, indeed, any athlete that has never tested positive is an athlete who should be supported by her federation and, indeed, everybody in the Olympic movement.

"Let us recognise that there is an extraordinary swimmer out there who deserves the recognition of her talent in these Games."

Seoul gold medallist Adrian Moorhouse labelled suspicion over Ye's performance as "sour grapes" and believes swimming may have uncovered a phenomenon to match Michael Phelps.

Moorhouse, whose 1988 Olympic title came in 100 metres breaststroke, was reacting to a leading American coach describing her world-record breaking race as "disturbing".

China's appalling past record for their swimmers failing doping tests has led to the inevitable speculation over the 16-year-old, who took five seconds off her personal best and more than a second off the world record in the 400m individual medley.

Ye Shiwen's swim was described as "insanely fast" by previous world record holder Steph Rice - indeed in the final 50 metres Ye swam faster than the men's champion Ryan Lochte.

John Leonard, the executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, told the Guardian the performance was "disturbing" and "unbelievable".

Leonard said: "The one thing I will say is that history in our sport will tell you that every time we see something, and I will put quotation marks around this, 'unbelievable', history shows us that it turns out later on there was doping involved."

Moorhouse, 48, told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast it was unfair to rush to such judgments.

"I think it is sour grapes," he said. "I think it's insulting actually.

"You saw the Chinese swimmers in 1990, they were the size of houses, this girl is quite small, light, she's just in good shape.

"The other thing to note is there are a lot of people in China and actually you know what, the base of their pyramid is so wide that if they train thousands and thousands of kids they've got more to draw on.

"They might have just found their Michael Phelps. They might have just found this really, really talented kid who can work really, really hard, and actually got the perfect shape and actually can cope with all the pressure that's thrown at her."

Phelps is a 14-time Olympic champion for the United States, bidding to add to his record tally in London.

Moorhouse stressed it was not unrealistic to expect a swimmer, such as Ye, to show rapid development in the early stages of a career.

He said: "At the age of 17 I improved four seconds on my best plan for time at breaststroke and got a European bronze medal, and I was 17.

"And I think at that age you can make big leaps.

"Let me just state she was a world champion last year at the age of 15, she won the 200 medley in Shanghai so we know about her."

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