Aussie swimmer Jack overjoyed after doping ban ruling

Australia's Shayna Jack has been cleared to return to the pool
AFP

Australian swimmer Shayna Jack said she was “overwhelmed with joy” Friday after an appeal against a reduction in her doping ban was thrown out, clearing the way for a return to the pool.

The freestyle specialist, part of Australia’s 4x100m team that set a world record in 2018, was banned for four years after testing positive to muscle growth agent ligandrol in an out-of-competition test in June 2019.

She claimed innocence and won an appeal to have the ban reduced to two years only for that decision to be appealed by Sports Integrity Australia and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

But the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, sport’s highest judicial body, threw it out, determining overnight that two years was enough given Jack had established that she “did not intentionally or recklessly consume the prohibited substance”.

“I am now free to do what I love with no restrictions and am so overwhelmed with joy,” Jack, 22, said on Instagram, accompanied by a picture of her preparing to dive into a pool.

“I am now going to take some time to myself to cherish this moment and reflect on what I have endured. The nightmare is finally over.

“I will speak more in the future, now is not the time … But watch this space, it’s only the beginning,” she added.

The revelation of Jack’s positive test was hugely embarrassing for Australian swimming at the time, coming just days after Olympic champion Mack Horton staged a high-profile protest against Chinese rival Sun Yang.

Horton refused to share the podium with Sun at the 2019 Gwangju world championships, reigniting a row from the 2016 Rio Olympics where he labelled the Chinese star a “drug cheat”.

Three-time Olympic champion Sun was subsequently slapped with an eight-year ban after refusing to give samples during a surprise doping test. It was later reduced to four years.

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