Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Woman sets new swimming record

Ye Shiwen
Watchers are still wondering if Ye Shiwen, 16, used underhand means to get gold in women’s 400m individual medley at the ongoing Olympics. She smashed existing world record by more than a second, finishing in 4.28.43.

One of the world’s top swimming coaches described the Chinese teen’s record-breaking performance as “unbelievable” and “disturbing” amid fears about doping.

She swam the last 50 metres faster than US gold medallist Ryan Lochte in the men’s race.

John Leonard, head of the World Swimming Coaches Association, called it “flat out impossible”.

He said: “We want to be very careful about calling it doping”.

He said Ye “looks like ­superwoman,” and added: “Any time someone has looked like superwoman in the history of our sport, they have been found guilty of doping.”

His remarks came after BBC presenter Clare Balding ­questioned whether Ye used underhand methods to compete.

Mr Leonard said the “race brings back a lot of awful memories” of Irish swimmer Michelle Smith’s win at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

She was banned for four years for tampering with a urine sample.

He said Ye’s blood samples have been taken, as for all Olympic athletes, and would be tested.

But Ye put down her record-breaking swim to her coaching, adding: “I am very young and I am sure I will just get better.”

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