Chinese fans of Ye Shiwen have rushed to defend the star swimmer after a United States coach openly questioned her  record setting-performance in the 400m individual medley as "unbelievable".

The wave of online anger was unleashed on Tuesday with many bloggers aiming their criticism at American coach John Leonard, executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, who told The Guardian newspaper that her performance was "unbelievable" and "disturbing".

"History in our sport will tell you that every time we see something, and I will put quotation marks around this, unbelievable, history shows us that it turns out later on there was doping involved," said Leonard.

Ye Shiwen, 16, immediately denied taking performance-enhancing drugs after the remarks came out on Monday.

By early Tuesday, thousands of Chinese fans had gone online to defend her..

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User JonJon wrote on Sina Weibo, China's biggest micro-blogging website: "The English media are just too short-sighted and narrow-minded. As a country who are famous for their spirit of gentlemen, they are not very gentlemen-like on this case. What a hypocritical country! Go Ye Shiwen, you are the best."

Later on Tuesday, user freda02024 posted: "Why is no one questioning say when [Michael] Phelps won 8 gold? Why bully a young Chinese girl?"

User cici_dongli added: "This questioning of Ye Shiwen is just pure jealousy. This is not Olympic spirit at all, it will not help [the] UK to progress."

Anti-doping measures

On Monday, Ye Shiwen took at least five seconds off her personal best to break the world record by more than a second and win the gold medal.

The 16-year-old sensation swam the 400m individual medley seconds faster than she ever had before and, on the last 50m, faster than the winner of the men's event.

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The Chinese anti- doping agency has said that Chinese athletes have undergone nearly 100 drugs tests since arriving in London, and that not a single Chinese athlete had tested positive.

But during the 1990s almost a dozen of their swimmers were banned for using performance enhancing drugs.

Seven swimmers tested positive for drugs in the 1994 Asian Games, and four years later four Chinese swimmers failed pre-tournament drug tests before swimming world championships in Australia.

Source: Agencies