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September 16, 2000
Chinese world champ kayoed in heatsDerek Parr
World record holder Chen Yan, the only Chinese world swimming champion who has come to the Sydney Olympics, failed to qualify for the final of the women's 400 metres individual medley on Saturday.
Chen, who has suffered from ill health and poor form since she won the event at the world championships in Perth in January 1998, could manage only fourth place in her heat in the opening session of the eight-day swimming programme at the Homebush Bay indoor pool.
Japan's Yasuko Tajima, the 1998 world championship bronze medallist, won the heat in four minutes 40.35 seconds, with 19-year-old Chen way behind in 4:45.65 -- more than 10 seconds outside the 4:34.79 world record she set in Shanghai in October 1997 -- for 11th place overall.
Team mate Liu Yin, who celebrated her 16th birthday earlier this month, fared even worse, finishing sixth in her heat in 4:50.33, 19th overall.
European champion Yana Klochkova of Ukraine, silver medallist behind Chen in the Perth world championships, was the fastest qualifier for the evening's final in 4:37.64, nearly three seconds faster than Tajima, the second-quickest on aggregate.
China dominated women's swimming before a succession of drug scandals overtook them and have come to Sydney with a depleted squad after more dope test troubles.
Wu Yanyan, women's 200 metres individual medley world champion ahead of Chen, was banned for four years after failing a dope test earlier this year.
Men's 100 metres breaststroke world silver medallist Zeng Qiliang and women's 100 metres freestyle world bronze medallist Shan Ying were among a quartet of swimmers in a group of 27 Chinese athletes dropped from the Olympic team shortly before Games after some failed dope tests.
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