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Top Chinese Swimmer Banned for Doping Ahead of Beijing Olympics

A top Chinese swimmer has been banned for life for doping only six weeks before the start of the Beijing Olympics.

The Chinese Swimming Association said Friday, it imposed a lifetime ban against star backstroker Ouyang Kunpeng after he failed an out-of-competition drug test on May 1. Ouyang's coach, Feng Shangbao, also received a life-time ban.

The association says it is cracking down on doping violations. First time offenders usually receive a two-year ban.

Ouyang competed in the 2004 Athens Olympics and won three silver medals at the 2006 Asian Games. The 25-year-old was considered perhaps Olympic host China's best chance of winning a backstroke medal this August.

Ouyang is the biggest-name Chinese swimmer to fail a doping test for several years. Chinese swimmers were involved in a series of doping scandals in the 1990's.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.