Shenyan (China), Aug 31 (IANS) A total of 9,977 doping tests have been conducted on Chinese athletes this year, of which 20 returned positive results, according to the country's top sports official.
Speaking at a meeting held on the eve of the opening of the 12th Chinese National Games, Sports Minister Liu Peng said that 20 positive cases have already been reported by Aug 26 this year, a considerable rise from the 14 drug cheats caught in 2012. Of the 20 positive cases, one was detected through the biological passport programme, reports Xinhua.
"The year of the National Games tends to witness more drug cheats, which thus puts us on high alert ahead of the 12th National Games," said Liu.
The National Games, the country's own mini-Olympics, will officially open Saturday night and doping remains one of the biggest challenges as winning a title at the event can be as important as winning an Olympic medal to local sports officials.
"The officials of each delegation must not be obsessed with winning medals," said Liu. "Only when the officials correct attitude towards the competition can the athletes and coaches adhere to the principle of fair-play and sportsmanship."
The organisers plan to carry out 2,575 drug tests, including 2,300 urine tests and 275 blood tests, during the 12th National Games that run through to Sep 12. And for the first time, the biological passport programme will be introduced into the quadrennial meet in the country's intensified efforts to weed out doping cheats.
Besides doping, Liu also warned against other breach of discipline at the National Games.
"Match rigging, falsification, foul refereeing and boycotting competition cannot be tolerated," he said. "Whoever violates rules and regulations will face severe punishment."
The National Games were first held in 1959 in Beijing.