DOPING-Five juniors Chinese swimmers banned for doping

BEIJING, April 9 Thu Apr 9, 2009 1:48am EDT

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BEIJING, April 9 (Reuters) - Five Chinese junior swimmers have been banned for two years for doping by the Chinese Swimming Association (CSA), officials confirmed on Thursday.

Qu Jing, Liu Bingyao, Zuo Ziqiao, Fu Bo and Hu Shaozhi had tested positive for the anabolic agent clenbuterol at last year's national junior championships in June, according to the China Anti-Doping Agency (CADA).

"They tested positive in the in-competition tests last year and had been under temporary suspension until the final confirmation," CADA head Zhao Jian told Reuters by telephone.

"It took some time to process the investigation, especially because of the Olympic Games last August."

The swimmers, whose coaches also received suspensions, were provincial representatives in the competition. Their bans were validated from the time of the offence, June 2008.

"We just gave the offenders the penalties they deserve. We are not hiding anything," CSA official Lan Jing said.

Seven positive samples were found after 1,467 tests on 396 Chinese swimmers in 2008.

China's top backstroke swimmer Ouyang Kunpeng was given a lifetime ban for a positive test for the same substance just over month before last August's Beijing Olympics.

(Reporting by Liu Zhen; Editing by Chris Lewis and Alastair Himmer)

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