mai 24, 2024

Kyle Chalmers, Ariarne Titmus have say as war rages between WADA, USADA

4 min read

Kyle Chalmers says it’s « so frowned upon to be a doper in Australia » and Ariarne Titmus has stressed the importance of « clean sport », following allegations of a cover-up surrounding Chinese swimmers.

Global swimming is engulfed in a doping scandal after reports claimed that 23 Chinese swimmers were cleared to compete at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics despite testing positive to a banned drug.

The World Anti-Doping Agency acknowledged that was the case in a statement, but said there was no issue in allowing the swimmers to race because their test results were affected by « environmental contamination ».

READ MORE: Swimming Australia launches ‘inquiries’ into scandal

READ MORE: Red-hot Olympic gold medal shot sends ominous warning

READ MORE: Aussie running champ rejected US lure to chase dream with ‘adopted dad’

The Chinese swimming team won six medals, including three gold medals, at the Tokyo Games.

A war is now raging between the United States Anti-Doping Agency and WADA, fuelled by USADA boss Travis Tygart levelling explosive allegations at the world doping police.

Kyle Chalmers at this week’s Australian swimming championships on the Gold Coast. (Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Chalmers weighed in on the scandal at the Australian swimming championships on the Gold Coast on Saturday night.

« I’m an athlete that prides myself on doing everything I possibly can to swim my fastest, » the Australian Olympic gold medallist told reporters poolside.

« I think there’s always going to be question marks over some people at times, but I’ve got to do everything I can no matter what to get my hand on the wall first, and all I’m doing is worrying about myself and my own swimming at this time.

« It is so frowned upon to be a doper in Australia. It gets so hugely criticised and we hate people cheating. I’m very, very proud to be Australian and very proud that I know everyone I race when I’m here is, I believe, clean. So I think we’re very, very fortunate in that sense.

« I’m forever getting tested so I hope that’s happening globally, as well. I’m getting random drug tests all the time; almost weekly at the moment leading into the Olympics. So I hope that’s what’s going on over there. »

From left: Ariarne Titmus, Emma McKeon, Maddi Wilson and Leah Neale with their bronze medals after the women’s 200m freestyle final at Tokyo 2020. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Reacting to the bombshell on Nine’s Weekend Today on Sunday morning, Australian distance queen Titmus admitted the scandal was « still quite raw ».

« Every time you race you just hope you’re racing people that are in the same boat as you and they’ve worked as hard as they can to get to that position in a fair manner, » said Titmus, a two-time Olympic gold medallist.

« I feel like we’re a clean sport, we’re a clean country, and sport’s not just about participation and winning and having friends and having fun; it’s also about respecting your competitors and respecting your sport. I think that’s what clean sport is.

« If these claims are true it’s just disappointing I think for the Olympics, which is pure, and our sport of course. »

Titmus was a member of the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay team that won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.

China won gold in the event and the USA claimed silver.

Across all sports at the Tokyo Games, China hauled in 38 gold medals, the second-highest number behind the US, who won 39. Japan was third in the standings with 26 gold medals.

WADA confirmed that 23 Chinese swimmers had tested positive to the banned drug trimetazidine (TMZ), a heart medication, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

Australian distance swimmer Lani Pallister, who will likely make her Olympic debut in Paris this year, responded to the bombshell on Nine’s Wide World of Sports on Sunday morning.

« Obviously if the claims are true it’s extremely disappointing for the athletes that had those opportunities taken away from them at the Tokyo Games, » Pallister said.

« My hearts are with the athletes that might be affected by that situation. »

In a Swimming Australia statement on Sunday, the governing body campaigned for clean sport and said it was inquiring with World Aquatics.

« Our expectations are high when it comes to advocating clean sport, » said Swimming Australia chief executive Rob Woodhouse.

« Right now, we are 50 days out from our Olympic trials and less than 100 days out from the opening ceremony — and we welcome the stringent testing our athletes face to ensure a level playing field.

« As an organisation we will always advocate for fairness and integrity, and we believe that all athletes deserve the right to earn success by their own hard work, effort, and dedication.

« Clean sport is about respect for your competitors. It’s about respect for yourself. It’s about respect for sport.

« At this stage we are making our own inquiries with World Aquatics, until we know more we aren’t in a position to comment further. »