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Australia Olympic swimmers urged not to be distracted by China doping scandal

By AFP

June 16, 2024 01:40 PM


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Australia's head swimming coach Rohan Taylor has urged his Olympic team not to get distracted by a Chinese doping scandal that has rocked the sport, calling it "a waste of energy".

Reports in April revealed 23 Chinese swimmers tested positive for the prescription heart drug trimetazidine -- which can enhance performance -- ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

They were not suspended or sanctioned after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accepted the explanation of Chinese authorities that the results were caused by food contamination at a hotel where they had stayed.

The scandal blew up again on Friday when the New York Times claimed three of them -- including two 2021 gold medallists and a current world record holder -- tested positive for banned substances in separate cases several years earlier.

China argued the trio ingested that substance inadvertently through contaminated meat.

Taylor said it was not worth wasting time worrying about something they had no control over.

"I think for us, internally, we can only control what we can control," he said on the final day of Australia's Olympic trials on Saturday, national broadcaster ABC reported.

"The narrative is quite clear and that's all we can do. We have to trust that WADA and World Aquatics are going to continue to investigate and that we are aligned with a clean sport.

"That's where we're at the moment and we'll continue to monitor that, but as far as it's distracting us in competition, I think it's not a controllable thing for us.

"For it to be a distraction, I think it's probably a waste of energy."

American great Katie Ledecky, a seven-time Olympic champion, said this month that faith in anti-doping measures was "at an all-time low".

So far, Australia's top swimmers have been largely silent on the issue but Taylor said he would not stop them expressing their opinions if they wanted to.

"If they have their own personal opinion, that I've got no problems with. They can express that themselves. It's not for me to talk about that," he said.

"I look at it as, we're going in and competing.

"If somebody's not doing the right thing, we hope the system catches them and that's basically how we work, because our guys get tested all the time too, so we're in the same boat."


AFP


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