Chinese volleyball coach thinks meat ban is hurting players

Chris Chase

The coach of the Chinese women's volleyball team thinks he knows why his squad has lost four straight tune-up matches for the London Olympics: They're not eating any meat.

Chinese athletes are banned from eating meat products due to fears they'll ingest clenbuterol, a banned substance that is commonly used to breed leaner animals in the country.

Yu Juemin told Beijing Daily that the vegetarian diet has had a negative effect on his team. "They have showed significant decline in their strength and fitness," he said. "We dared not eat pork when we come out of our training camp for the tournament because we are afraid of clenbuterol."

Vegetarians worldwide are all, "hold up, buddy -- we do just fine without meat." But Yu would attribute that to their decline in mental acuity from years of eating veggie "chicken" nuggets.

The Telegraph reports that 50 percent of meat consumed in Beijing contains the performance-enhancing drug, a fact which makes the Chinese ban understandable. Then again, is it worse for athletes to perform well and run the risk of accidentally testing positive or to be 100 percent clean and lose to countries that have a low per-capita setter rate?

China put on the most spectacular Olympics in history, runs junior training programs for the nation's top athletes and can doctor a gymnast's birth certificate like it's nothing; you're telling me it can't import some clean cows for its athletes?

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