The Badminton World Federation imposed the suspension on Sept. 1,
2010 after traces of banned steroid clenbuteral were found in Zhou Mi's urine
sample during an out-of-competition doping test in June 2010.
Zhou, a bronze medalist for China at the Athens Olympics in 2004
before joining the Hong Kong team of China in 2006, appealed to the
Court of Arbitration for Sports on Sept. 21 but was failed to file all
relevant appeal papers by the deadline of Oct. 1, 2010.
She presented at the conference a Hair-Drug Test Report dated Nov.
26, 2010, conducted by the Hong Kong University of Science and
Technology Laboratory for Molecular Testing, which indicated that the
banned substance found in her hair sample at the material time was of "a
very low concentration".
An independent assessment produced by Dr. Lam Hon Wah of the
Department of Biology and Chemistry of the City University of Hong Kong
stated that the low concentration of clenbuteral found in her system was
"inconsistent with what would be found in an athlete who regularly
ingests clenbuteral for performance enhancing purposes".
Dr. Lam supported Zhou's earlier allegation, noting that it was
possible that Zhou had ingested clenbuteral through her "unknowing
consumption of clenbuteral tainted pork".
"We know clenbuteral can be found in contaminated pork, which is not
uncommon in China, and if the amount is very low, the player could have a
strong case to argue," a source close to the case was quoted by the
local South China Morning Post.
Zhou hoped that the new reports could raise her chance of restoring
her reputation, particularly in light of recent cases in which bans were
overturned because of similar low concentrations in athletes including
former Tour de France champion Alberto Contador.
However, it was not very likely that Zhou would still be able to
appeal against her ban after 14 months. Zhou noted that as a practically
retired athlete, the main motivation of all her efforts was to prove
her innocence, which is "very important" to an athlete and to her coming
Zhou became the world's top-ranked women player at the age of 29 in
October, 2008 and had been receiving a monthly scholarship of 25,000 HK
dollars from the Hong Kong Sports Institute before the doping incident.
After the ban was imposed, Zhou returned to the Chinese mainland. She got married and was expecting her first child in Beijing.