: China is taking no chances with being embarrassed on home soil at the Asian Games, carrying out nearly 2,000 dope tests on its athletes ahead of Friday's opening.

The country has attempted to crack down on drug cheats in recent years after high profile scandals in the 1990s damaged its sporting reputation. Since August, it has conducted 1,950 tests, including 120 blood tests, the China Daily reported on its website.

Every Chinese athlete taking part had to submit to atleast one test before being allowed into their 1000-strong delegation. “We hope that China will keep a clean record,” said Jiang Zhixue, anti-doping chief in China's State General Administration of Sport.

“We have been working hard to send a clean team to the Asian Games and ensure there is no positive case in our delegation.” As well as being tested, all Chinese athletes have had to read anti-doping material and sign a letter of commitment, pledging to abide by anti-doping rules.

“We refined the system that we initiated in last year's National Games,” said Jiang. “No athlete is allowed into the team before they finish the required anti-doping education, no matter how great their sport achievements are.”

Previous cases

Earlier this year, Olympic judo champion Tong Wen was slapped with a two-year ban after testing positive for the banned substance clenbuterol. Top sprinter Wang Jing, meanwhile, was banned from the Chinese team for life in April after she failed a doping test at the National Games.

Wang, placed fifth in the women's 100 metres at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, tested positive for epitestosterone and epitestosterone metabolites.

China's lowest point in doping terms came at the 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games when seven swimmers tested positive for steroids, which left the squad so decimated that it won only 1 swimming gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. — AFP

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