By Nick Butler

Zhang Wenxiu claims to be shocked following the positive doping test that saw her stripped of her Asian Games hammer title ©Getty ImagesChinese hammer thrower Zhang Wenxiu claims to be "shocked" and determined to clear her name following the positive doping test that saw her stripped of the  gold medal she won at the Asian Games last month.

The 28-year-old, also winner of Asian Games titles at Doha 2006 and Gunagzhou 2010, as well as an Olympic bronze medal at Beijing 2008, tested positive for banned anabolic steroid Zeranol and its metabolite in a pre-competition test during the Games.

She was the first Chinese athlete to test positive at the Asian Games since Hiroshima 1994, where 11 members of the Chinese swimming and cycling teams were implicated in a major scandal, after failing for another steroid, Dihydrotestosterone.

On this occasion, Zhang's compatriot Wang Zheng has been promoted to gold, while Bala Manju and Masumi Aya, of India and Japan respectively, have moved up to silver and bronze.  

"I am shocked, and I cannot accept it," Zhang told Agence France-Presse.

"As a veteran athlete, I have been receiving anti-doping education for many years and strictly abide by the anti-doping rules.

"As an athlete who has been competing in numerous competitions over 15 years, I have been tested over 100 times and have never had doping problems.

"I have never taken banned substance and I don't know why banned substances surfaced in my sample.

"As an athlete, I regret bringing negative influence to the Chinese sports delegation and the Chinese Athletics Association for whatever reasons.

"I will vindicate my rights and cooperate with all the concerned organisations to find out the truth and clear my name."

Zeranol, the substance the athlete tested positive for, is a semi-synthetic estrogenic veterinary drug with growth-promoting properties, prohibited in the European Union since 1981 for use as a growth promoter in livestock.

But, because it is still used for this purpose in some parts of the world, there remains the possibility she could have inadvertently consumed the substance via the consumption of contaminated meat.

Australian cyclist Michael Rogers (right) is one athlete to have successfully blamed contaminated meat for a failed drugs test ©AFP/Getty ImagesAustralian cyclist Michael Rogers (right) is one athlete to have successfully blamed contaminated meat for a failed drugs test ©AFP/Getty Images

This is an excuse that has been used on several occasions in recent years, including earlier this year when Australian cyclist Michael Rogers escaped a ban after the International Cycling Union backed his claim that contaminated meat was to blame for a positive test for banned substance clenbuterol.

But, when fellow cyclist Alberto Contador attempted to use the same excuse after also testing positive for the substance during his victory in the 2010 Tour de France, he was banned for two years and stripped of his title.

"The athlete may dope deliberately, but there also remain the possibilities that the positive reading was due to her consumption of contaminated meat," the Chinese Olympic Committee said following Zhang's failure.

"Whatever the cause is, we respect the OCA's (Olympic Council of Asia) decision regarding Zhang's case, because the World Anti-Doping Code stipulates that athletes must bear the consequences for the substance found in his or her body."

The case is a particular embarrassment for China coming a month after the country pledged to contribute $1 million (£610,000/€770,000) to the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) new anti-doping research, a gesture which received praise from figures, including WADA President Sir Craig Reedie.

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