Sunday, July 29, 2012

“Veggie” diet blamed for poor performance of China’s women volleyball team

Afraid of eating tainted meat, the Chinese women's volleyball team has been on this strict vegetarian diet for the last three weeks, which the team's coach is now blaming for his athletes' terrible performance.
The Chinese team lost four of five matches at a world tournament in Ningbo, China, falling to the United States, Brazil, Turkey and Thailand.

“They have showed significant decline in their strength and fitness” coach Yu Juemin said of his squad after the defeat to the US. “We are wary of meat tainted by lean-meat powder, and we didn't eat any during the game period."

All Chinese athletes have been warned by the country's Sports Ministry to avoid meat contaminated with the powder, also known as clenbuterol, because it's banned by the International Olympic Committee as a performance-enhancing substance.

China bans the use of clenbuterol in livestock because of the chemical's noxious long-term effects on human health, (China? Seriously?) but many pork farmers still use it it because it produces leaner meat. (so much for the ban)

 The World Anti-Doping Agency issued a warning last year about clenbuterol-tainted meat in China as well as Mexico, where it is also widespread.
As a result, the Chinese volleyball team only eats meat at its training camp, where the food can be tested for contamination. When players go elsewhere in the country, they don't eat pork, beef and lamb — and that's what happened leading up to the volleyball World Grand Prix finals tournament.
Some other Chinese athletes are compensating by eating more fish and chicken and supplementing their diets with protein powder. 

Clenbuterol is an asthma drug in some countries because it helps dilate the bronchial tubes.
It is also the substance that cyclist and two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador tested positive for in 2010, and that lead to his being stripped of his victory in that year's race and banned from competition.