Friday, July 27th 2012 - 23:59 UTC

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

Fearing tainted meat, China's women's volleyball team has stuck to a strict vegetarian diet for the last three weeks, which the team's coach is now blaming for his athletes' abysmal performance.

Fears of tainted meat with clentuterol makes the team overseas diet of vegetables, chicken and fish

The Chinese team lost four of five matches at a world tournament that ended Sunday in Ningbo, China, falling to the United States, Brazil, Turkey and Thailand.

While Brazil and the US are powerhouses in women's volleyball, Turkey and Thailand didn't even qualify for the 2008 Olympics, where China won bronze.

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

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, but many pork farmers still administer it because it produces leaner meat. The World Anti-Doping Agency issued a warning last year about clenbuterol-tainted meat in China as well as Mexico, where it is also rampant.

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 have to forego pork, beef and lamb — as they did in the lead-up to the volleyball World Grand Prix finals tournament.

Some other Chinese athletes are coping by eating more fish and chicken and supplementing their diets with protein powder. Earlier this year, a Chinese pig farmer donated three tons of clenbuterol-free pork to his country's athletes.

Coach Yu said his volleyball players would have access to ample supplies of untainted meat in the run-up to the Summer Olympics, which begin July 27 in London.

Clenbuterol is approved as 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, leading to his being stripped of his victory in that year's race and banned from competition until August. In ruling against the Spaniard, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said it was possible, but not likely, that he consumed the clenbuterol accidentally via contaminated veal. (Argentine Beef Packers S.A.)

10 comments Feed

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1 talonIV (#) Jul 28th, 2012 - 04:53 pm Report abuse
LOL, it has nothing to do with a “veggie diet”. How the hell can you win at Volly Ball when the entire team is under 5' tall?

YIKES, was that UN PC?

Damn, no Mai Gai Goo nPan for me tonight.
2 TxWrstmkr (#) Jul 28th, 2012 - 06:47 pm Report abuse
So much for “Meatless Mondays”! I think Meatloaf Monday sounds better anyway! Don't they eat Monkey in china? (Monkey Mondays)
3 (#) Jul 28th, 2012 - 06:54 pm Report abuse
Funny!!! Is it the best the Chinese could think of to defense their lost?!
4 juanblanco69 (#) Jul 28th, 2012 - 08:57 pm Report abuse
they have 3 players under 6 foot and that is thanks to the new “defender rule”...I take Talon is very short , Napolean type complex making her unsettled here. Who cares what people blame things on, especially coming from Americans who are the biggest at blaming everyone but themselves
5 rogerdog (#) Jul 29th, 2012 - 12:59 am Report abuse
Let them eat pork!
6 itsspideyman (#) Jul 29th, 2012 - 05:58 am Report abuse
The Chinese team is no slouch. They've medaled in every Olympics since 1984 except 1992, and took the gold in '84 and '08. They are a 7-time world champion. While they don't have height they make it up in unbelievable speed and endurance. I'm not sure I buy the meat thing either, but if I were the Chinese I'd been shipping my cattle on cargo planes!
7 GeoffWard2 (#) Jul 29th, 2012 - 12:07 pm Report abuse
If I understand the spirit of this article (see last line), this is another anti-Argentina posting.
8 juanblanco69 (#) Jul 29th, 2012 - 01:24 pm Report abuse
@itsspideyman , what do you mean they don't have the height ? their team is as big as any other team out there
9 Rodroc (#) Aug 02nd, 2012 - 07:21 pm Report abuse
Veggie diets are one of the best strategies to improve metabolism and to stay healthier. I don't know if these players have the height or not, but they certainly look healthy and are better athletes than many of us.
10 IKbacon (#) Aug 03rd, 2012 - 07:14 pm Report abuse
Get these girls some bacon. Everything is 'better' with bacon.

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