Doping-House members call for DOJ, IOC investigations into Chinese doping case

A man walks at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) venue on the eve of the Fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport in Katowice

(Reuters) - A U.S. House of Representatives committee on Wednesday called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to launch inquiries ahead of this summer's Paris Olympics into a doping case involving Chinese swimmers.

Earlier this month, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed that 23 Chinese swimmers avoided sanctions after testing positive for the banned substance trimetazidine (TMZ) before the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

"This incident raises serious concerns and may constitute a broader state-sponsored strategy by the People's Republic of China to unfairly compete at the Olympic Games," said Representative John Moolenaar, chair of the bipartisan House select committee on China.

An investigation by Chinese authorities ruled the positive tests were the result of being inadvertently exposed to the drug through contamination.

A report determined all the swimmers who tested positive were staying at the same hotel where traces of TMZ, which is found in heart medication, were discovered in the kitchen.

WADA has vigorously defended its handling of the case despite criticism from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Moolenaar said that in the two years prior to the positive tests, China "inexplicably" contributed nearly $2 million more than is required to WADA programs.

WADA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The agency announced in April that it would launch an independent review of the matter led by Swiss prosecutor Eric Cottier, but Moolenaar said the DOJ and IOC should launch investigations of their own.

"Our American athletes deserve to know they are competing on a clean and level playing field at the Paris Games this summer," Moolenaar said.

"No nation, no matter how powerful, should be exempt from the highest legal and ethical sporting standards."

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Toby Davis)