China has vehemently denied suggestions of doping in the wake of swimmer Ye Shiwen's record-breaking performance at the London Olympics. Ye won the 400m individual medley more than a second inside the world record.
The head of the Chinese swimming team hit back on Tuesday at suspicions over Ye's Olympic performance.
"Ye Shiwen has been seen as a genius since she was young, and her performance vindicates that," Xu Qi told Chinese news agency Xinhua.
"If there are suspicions, then please lay them out using facts and data. Don't use your own suspicions to knock down others. This shows lack of respect for athletes and for Chinese swimming."
Ye, 16, swam the final leg of the 400 individual medley - the 100 meters freestyle - in 58.68 seconds, smashing her personal best by five seconds. She covered the final lap faster than American Ryan Lochte in the men's competition, who himself won the overal event with the second best time in history.
"Impossible," claims US coach
Suspicions over doping were raised when American John Leonard, executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, described her achievement as simply "impossible."
"The one thing I will say is that history in our sport will tell you that every time we see something, and I will put quotation marks around this, 'unbelievable,' history shows us that it turns out later on there was doping involved," Leonard told Britain's Guardian newspaper.
Ye immediately denied the allegations in an interview with the China News Service. "My results come from hard work and training and I would never use any banned drugs," she said.
Ye has her eyes on a second Olympic gold on Tuesday, when she swims the 200 meters individual medley.
ccp/ipj (AFP, Reuters, AP)