Records Shattered By China

LONDON -- Dong Yanmei, just 17, made an astonishing piece of athletics history as she led a trio of Chinese through the fastest women's 5,000 meters ever.

In the heats at the Chinese National Games in Shanghai, Dong and Jiang Bo, 20, sliced more than five seconds off Portugese Fernanda Ribeiro's 1995 mark of 14 minutes 36.45 seconds when they clocked 14:31.27 and 14:31.30 respectively Tuesday.

Third-placed Liu Shixiang ran 14:32.33 to finish four seconds inside the old record.

The achievement came at a time when Chinese swimmers and weight lifters have been producing some remarkable record-breaking performances at the Games.

Two world records and six world best times for 1997 from Chinese women swimmers in Shanghai were described as "suspicious" by a leading Australian official Tuesday.

China has had a problem in the past with swimmers testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. But Ma lashed out at suggestions that Chinese track athletes used banned drugs to enhance their performances.

"That is a rumor created by the Western media," he told the official Xinhua news agency.