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September 7 , 2000
Taiwan lifter shrugs off ban on compatriotRachel Lee in Sydney
Taiwan's top male weightlifter Wang Shin-yuan has shrugged off the banning of two of his female compatriots and said any added pressure on him would not hurt his medal chances.
Wang, ranked second in the world in the 56 kg class, is now one of Taiwan's top medal prospects after the banning of the two, including world champion Chen Jui-lian, because they tested positive for drugs earlier this year.
"That event does not affect me. I still expect to finish in the top three," Wang said.
Wang has been a medal favourite for the Olympics since he finished third at last year's world championships in Athens.
"Since he won the bronze last year, everyone knows he has the ability to win a medal here," said Wang's coach Shin Chien-ming.
Shin added that a move to crack down strictly on doping would help Wang, who is expected to battle Turkey's Halil Mutlu, the gold medal favourite who beat him in Athens, and Romania's Adrian Jigau, who finished second there.
"Strict doping tests will help Wang because it will scare off any weightlifters from using drugs or force them to cut back on them," Shin said.
The competition in Wang's weight category takes place on September 16.
Chen won the women's 63 kg division at the 1999 world championships and had been forecast to win Taiwan's first Olympic gold.
But on Wednesday, Taiwan's National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports said it had accepted a decision by the International Weightlifting Federation to suspend Chen and Wu Mei-yi.
The two had been suspended earlier in the year by Taiwan's weightlifting association for testing positive for steroids, but the association lifted the bans last month after a task force appointed by the council ruled the tests were not conducted according to international standards.
Taiwan has never won an Olympic gold medal. Since first competing in the Summer Olympics in 1932, Taiwanese have taken three silvers and two bronzes.
The government has offered its athletes and coaches a reward of T$10 million (US$333,000) each for an Olympic gold, T$6 million for a silver and T$4 million for a bronze.
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