BEIJING — Chinese world champion Wu Yanyan has been banned for four years and fined after failing a drug test, a senior official said.

Wu, world champion and world record holder in the women’s 200-metres individual medley, tested positive for an anabolic steroid at the Chinese national championships and Olympic trials in Jinan in May.

Zhang Qiuping, vice-chairman of the Chinese Swimming Association, said on Monday Wu had been banned for four years and fined 8000 yuan (US $967), while her coach Wu Jicai had been banned for a year and fined 4000 yuan.

China will also contest the Sydney Olympics without Le Jingyi, the only Chinese swimmer to win a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Le, who won gold in the 100m freestyle and silver in the 50m freestyle in Atlanta, held the world records for both sprint freestyle distances for nearly six years.

‘Le decided only two months before the Jinan qualifiers to try for a third Olympic appearance but by then it was too late’, China’s head coach Zhao Ke said.

‘Le swam in Jinan but had not had time to get in sufficient training and failed to make the Olympic team’ China’s head coach Zhao Ke said….

Le set her world records at the world championships in Rome in September 1994 when China won 12 of the 16 women’s titles, less than a month before seven of their swimmers failed dope tests at the Asian Games in Hiroshima.

The records stood until Inge de Bruijn of the Netherlands surpassed them in a world record breaking spree in May and June.

Le, however, was not the dominant figure of old at the 1998 world championships in Perth, Australia, where she did not defend her individual titles because of an elbow injury and swam only in a relay.

China’s lone winners in Perth were Wu in the 200m individual medley and Chen Yan in the 400m freestyle and 400m individual medley.

Chen has been troubled by stomach problems over the last two years, failed to shine in Jinan but will compete in Sydney.

Source: SOCOG Reuters