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Monday 05, Sep 2016

  Anti-Doping Advisers Resign Over ‘Ignored’ Suggestions

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Three anti-doping advisers to the world governing body of swimming have submitted their resignations. Professor Andrew Pipe has left his role as chairman of the body’s doping control review board, as have two other members of the eight-strong panel.

In a letter to the governing body, the experts added that the failure of FINA to enact other recommendations that the doping control review board has made in the past, is incompatible with our dedication to clean sport and optimal anti-doping practice.

The anti-doping advisers remarked FINA ignored a call to ban some Russian athletes from Rio 2016. Seven swimmers competed at the recently concluded Rio Olympics despite bans from the board for doping violations. Those banned by the board included Yulia Efimova who won two silver medals in the women’s 100m and 200m breaststroke events.

The resignation letter of Pipe criticized FINA over its handling of the process. In the letter, the chairman of the body’s doping control review board said we were disappointed to note that our recommendations were not followed – and even more disappointed to receive no specific response to a subsequent written request for information regarding the reasons for FINA’s decision. It also said we learned of FINA’s decisions regarding the eligibility of Russian competitors only by observing the Olympic competition.

The FINA Doping Control Review Board (DCRB) is composed by eight persons appointed by the Bureau. A majority of the DCRB members shall be either physicians licensed in internal medicine, endocrinology, clinical pharmacology or sports medicine, with experience in anti-doping practices or analytical chemists with experience in WADA accredited laboratories or their equivalent. The Doping Control Review Board may review and make recommendations to the Bureau regarding the doping control program of FINA and may make proposals for additions or amendments to the Doping Control Rules for consideration by the Congress. The DCRD is also entrusted with the task of approving the Therapeutic Use Exemptions on behalf of FINA in accordance with the FINA Doping Control Rules and WADA Code.

In its defense, FINA remarked it provided the advice to the International Olympic Committee and the Court of Arbitration for Sport and also commented that it was not responsible for the final outcome.

FINA president Dr Julio C Maglione said the world governing body of swimming always co-ordinates with all stakeholders in the sport movement to assure that transparency and zero tolerance in the fight against doping is in place, thus protecting the clean athletes. Maglione added please rest assured that we will continue the same policy in fighting against doping without any limitation, equally applying the doping control rules to all athletes and all FINA Member Federations.

Many criticized FINA for resisting suggestions to retest samples taken at the 2015 world championships hosted by Russia. The doping case of China’s star swimmer Sun Yang, a two-time 2012 Olympic freestyle gold medalist, was shrouded in mystery two years back. The positive test of Yang was for a banned stimulant and subsequent three-month ban was confirmed in China and by the world governing body of swimming only after it was served.

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Saturday 26, Dec 2015

  Swimming Competition Plagued By Doping

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Top coaches and others have warned that elite swimming is plagued by doping.

In an interview, John Leonard, the executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, remarked that the probability of clean swimming contests at Rio Olympics next year is “zero.” Leonard added everything that is wrong with Russian athletics is wrong with swimming. Recently, Australia’s head swim coach Jacco Verhaeren issued a warning that swimmers themselves were losing faith in the system. Verhaeren also commented that there are concerns about what is exactly happening to prevent doping use and added the lack of transparency is concerning.

The death of Qing Wenyi, a 17-year-old swimmer who had her sights set on next year’s Rio Olympics, poses many questions. Her parents asked that an autopsy not be performed and a Chinese website reported that death of Wenyi was probably the result of a heart condition that is associated with performance enhancing stimulants.

The association of doping and swimming is not new. The electrifying performances delivered by Chinese swimmers as far back as the 1980s and 1990s were always rumored to be associated with doping. To add to that, a surge of positive doping results and drug suspensions hit China after the 1994 Rome World Championships when the women’s team captured gold medals in 12 of 16 events. In the past two years, Olympic 400m freestyle champion Park Tae-Hwan from South Korea and world breaststroke champion Yuliya Efimova from Russia got reduced bans that allowed them to compete at the Rio Olympics.

Leonard, the executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, commented nothing has changed since then. Leonard added doping tests are carried using obsolete techniques and the world governing body of aquatics, FINA, is deliberately ignoring a serious problem. John Leonard added he and others maintain that FINA is ill-equipped to oversee anti-doping efforts and athlete safety and added FINA doesn’t want to catch anyone because their job is to promote the sport, and a fair number of top swimmers are cheating.

Ahmed El-Awadi, the chief executive officer of Swimming Canada, remarked he doesn’t share all views of Leonard. However, he added he does have some concerns about how the case of Sun Yang, the Chinese swimmer who took home gold in the 400- and 1,500-metre freestyle events at the 2012 London Olympics and suspended for three months in May 2014 for using a banned stimulant was handled by FINA. El-Awadi added there is a lack of transparency in the process and of consistency in the application of the rules. The chief executive officer of Swimming Canada added we have Ryan Cochrane fighting for the same gold medal, so we’d love to know more about Sun Yang’s positive test and how it was dealt with and also commented that we would love to see hearing and investigation notes. El-Awadi also said that international federations right now are put in a position where they have to test and punish their greatest assets, and potentially hurt their own revenue.

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Sunday 01, Feb 2015

  South Korean Swimming Star Fails Doping Test

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South Korean swimmer Park Tae-hwan, a 2008 Olympic champion, has failed a doping test after a local team injected him with Testosterone.

Seoul prosecutors said the hospital had testified it gave the swimmer the shot but did not realize it was against World Anti-Doping Agency regulations. According to media reports, Park had already been questioned by prosecutors and the doctor could face charges of negligence. The swimmer could still face punishment under the strict anti-doping rules even if he was not aware that he had been injected with a banned substance. A lengthy ban could derail Park’s hopes of swimming at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

At the 2008 Beijing Games, Park became the first South Korean to win an Olympic swimming medal when he conquered the 400mg freestyle. The swimmer is one of the most celebrated athletes in his country. Affectionally known as the “Marine Boy” because of its poster-boy looks and clean-cut image, his popularity has never wavered despite a dip in his performances in the recent years. Park has been the face of endorsements for headache pills, milk, communication equipment, and air conditioners besides being a goodwill ambassador for the Dynamic Korea promotion.

Park’s agency, Team GMP, said the swimmer had repeatedly asked the hospital if there were any illegal substances in the injection but he was assured it was safe. In a statement, Team GMP said Park Tae-hwan as a world-class swimmer for the last 10 years hasn’t taken so much as cold medicine, that’s how careful he’s been due to concerns about doping problems and illegal substances and added Park is more shocked by this result than anyone else.

Park’s management said it would take legal action against the free clinic in Icheon that injected Park after they assured him the substance was legal and added the hospital offered to give Park an injection, and he repeatedly asked if it contained any illegal substances. The management remarked we are trying with our team of legal experts to determine why the particular hospital injected Park with an illegal substance, and we’re preparing to hold it civilly and criminally liable. It was added that the doctor said there would be no problem and yet it turned out the injection contained a banned substance.

The 2008 Olympic 400m freestyle champ Park joined Sun Yang, China’s Olympic star, to fail a doping test. Leading Australian coach Michael Bohl expressed shock at the positive doping test for Park, his former swimmer. Both swimmers were associated with Australian coaches at the time of their failed tests but anti-doping tests took place in their homelands and there is no hint of any untoward activity in Australia. Park quit training under Bohl ending a four-year association after the Asian Games last September and has since started training in the USA under Dave Marsh and alongside US star Ryan Lochte.

Park would now have to attend a hearing with FINA, swimming’s world governing body, on February 27 to answer the doping charge.

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Wednesday 03, Dec 2014

  Australia Bars Chinese Swimming Star

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Australia Bars Chinese Swimming Star

Sun Yang, the double Olympic champion and 1,500 meters world record-holder, has been barred from training in Australia. The Chinese swimming sensation’s coach is also expected to sever ties with Yang after he was banned for doping.

Swimming Australia high performance boss Michael Scott met Sun’s Australian coach Denis Cotterell and told him that the Chinese swimmer is no longer welcome to train in the country. Scott remarked he met Denis and Denis has advised the Chinese swimming federation that Sun Yang will not be allowed to train at Miami on the Gold Coast anymore or any of our podium centers as per our policy. Scott added the integrity of Australian swimming was paramount and also remarked that it was a very straight forward call, which Denis supported and has been acted upon already.

The Swimming Australia high performance chief also remarked Australia was tightening rules on foreign swimmers coming to the country and they would be required to register with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority for out-of-competition testing. He went on to remark that they are required to pay us a rights fee which will include the cost of any drugs tests and also remarked obviously when things like this happen you review the situation and we’ve now determined that any foreign swimmer that we agree to come into one of our centers as a condition must list themselves with ASADA for drug testing out of competition.

The Brisbane Courier-Mail reported that Cotterell, one of Australia’s foremost swimming coaches, would sever all ties with Sun. Cotterell also coached Australia’s two-time Olympic 1,500m champion Grant Hackett, who held the 1,500m world record before it was eclipsed by Sun Yang.

The 22-year-old swimmer won four medals at the London 2012 Olympics, including gold in the 400m and 1500m freestyles. Yang also swept the 400m, 800m and 1500m frees at the 2013 World Championships.

Yang served a three-month doping ban after he tested positive for the banned stimulant Trimetazidine (Class S.6.b Specified Stimulant) on May 17 during the Chinese National Championships. Sun said he used the prescription drug Vasorel for “Angina pectoris”, a health condition in which pain is experienced in the chest because of an inadequate supply of oxygen to the heart muscle. The swimmer said he was unaware that the drug had Trimetazidine, a drug that was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s prohibited list this year. Sun could have been allowed by sport authorities to legally use the prescription drug if he had filed a therapeutic use exemption as it was for a medical condition. Sun Yang completed his ban on August 17 but details of his doping ban were revealed only last week by Chinese authorities.

The World Anti-Doping Agency is expected to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and said the World Anti-Doping Code requires drugs violations to be made public within 20 days. Athletes are generally slapped with two-year bans for a first breach of the code under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s current code. Bans will be doubled to four years from January 1, 2015.

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Wednesday 04, Jun 2014

  Yuliya Efimova Banned And Stripped Of World Records

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Yuliya Efimova Banned And Stripped Of World Records

Yuliya Efimova of Russia has received a ban of 16 months, retroactive to October 31, 2013 and concluding next year on February 28. The world governing body of swimming, FINA, made this communication in its final decision against the swimmer after her positive test for 7-keto-DHEA during an out-of-competition test that took place in Los Angeles.

FINA also decided to strip Efimova from all results since October 31, 2013 that includes four European short course titles and four world records. With this announcement, the European short course wins now goes to Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte (50-meter breast along with her 100-meter breast win) and Rikke Pedersen Moeller (200-meter breast). Germany finishes with the mixed 200-meter medley relay victory for the team of Christian Diener, Caroline Ruhnau, Steffen Deibler, and Dorothea Brandt while Denmark’s women’s 200-meter medley relay earns gold with Mie Nielsen, Jeanette Ottesen, Pernille Blume, and Pedersen taking home that win with Russia losing the world record in that event.

Efimova will lose four world records in total. Her 200-meter breaststroke record of 2:14.39 will go back to Rebecca Soni’s 2:14.57 from the Duel in the Pool. Russia will also lose the mixed medley relay and women’s medley relay records from Euro short course champs and the 50-meter breaststroke record of Efimova from the FINA World Cup tour will not be ratified.

Efimova plead ignorance during her hearings with the FINA Doping Panel that she had taken similar supplements containing L-carnitine ever since she was a teenager. She remarked that a sales person at a local GNS store in Los Angeles told her that a product named Cellucor CLK was “doping-free.” It was claimed by Efimova that her lack of English skills was behind the poor decision to take the supplement, instead of just not taking any L-carnitine at all, especially since DHEA was clearly listed as an ingredient on the label of the product.

However, Efimova accepted the fact that she would have found that DHEA was prohibited if she had compared the supplement ingredients to the banned list. FINA imposed a relaxed ban on her because the swimmer detailed that her intent never was to find any performance enhancement. Efimova bought the product in September of 2013, went on the World Cup tour to Doha, Dubai and Moscow in October and tested clean at each of these stops. She used the product on October 22 when she returned to the U.S. and had run out of her previous supply of L-carnitine and even detailed that she had been taking L-carnitine on her doping control form.

FINA Doping Panel remarked that it has concluded that a sixteen-month period of eligibility is both just and fair under the circumstances of this case upon balancing all the relevant factors and after considering many other cases across a wide spectrum of sports.

Efimova is likely to bypass an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and expected to focus on the future with the potential of still competing at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan.

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Saturday 11, May 2013

  Swimmer Prays For Dispensation From Ban

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Swimmer prays for dispensation from ban

After failing a drug test at the start of the year, Hong Kong’s top swimmer and asthma sufferer David Wong Kai-wai is hoping for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to escape a lengthy ban.

The swimmer is believed to have taken the medicine prescribed by his doctor to treat asthma and it had a banned substance and swimmers are required to get prior approval from the international federation before using it.

The 24-year-old Wong holds Hong Kong records in freestyle, butterfly and relay events. He also won a gold medal in the men’s 200 meters at a short-course World Cup meeting in the United Arab Emirates in 2011. The swimmer, a multiple Hong Kong record holder, tested positive for a banned substance, according to a confirmation by Hong Kong Swimming Association honorary secretary Ronnie Wong Man-chiu who also revealed that a hearing would be held soon.

Ronnie however believed the swimmer had no intention of using drugs to enhance his performance and said the swimmer applied for a TUE before he was tested positive and he continued taking part in domestic competitions despite the fact that the therapeutic use exemption has yet to be approved. The official said David Won was selected for a doping test in January and unfortunately, the result, which came back last month, was positive.

It is believed that the Hong Kong Anti-Doping Committee, with advice from FINA, the world governing body of swimming, will issue the TUE for Wong within the week.

According to FINA rules, a TUE is required to be obtained first by competitors with a documented medical condition requiring the use of a prohibited substance and the presence of a prohibited substance consistent with the provisions of an applicable TUE and issued pursuant to the international standard for therapeutic use exemptions shall not be considered an anti-doping rule violation.

The Hong Kong Swimming Association honorary secretary said we believe there is no intention of using drugs to help improve performance in this case and the swimmer just failed to follow the proper procedures and was too eager to compete without obtaining a therapeutic use exemption first but this is still a case of a drug violation and we think there should be some sort of punishment as a warning. He also added that the Hong Kong Swimming Association had studied similar cases from other parts of the world and believed a sanction of two to three months would be appropriate for a swimmer with no previous record of drug usage.

Former Asian Games BMX gold medalist Steven Wong failed an out-of-competition test two months ago in Belgium for anabolic steroids last April and former badminton world No. 1 Zhou Mi also received a two-year ban in 2010 when she tested positive for Clenbuterol. Zhou Mi, the Hong Kong shuttler, said the over-the-counter medicine she took did not contain Clenbuterol and it may most likely came from contaminated pork. She was given a 2-year ban for doping when traces of Clenbuterol were found in her urine samples during a test taken out of competition on June 28th, 2010.

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Thursday 25, Apr 2013

  Athletes Often Misuse Protein Supplements

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Athletes Often Misuse Protein Supplements

According to a recent study, protein supplements don’t improve performance or recovery time and such supplements are inefficient for most athletes.

Martin Fréchette, a researcher and graduate of the Université de Montréal Department of Nutrition, said these supplements are often poorly used or unnecessary by both high-level athletes and amateurs.

Fréchette submitted questionnaires to 42 athletes as part of his thesis for the Masters degree. In the questionnaire, sportsmen were asked about their use of supplements while keeping a journal of their eating habits for three days and came from a variety of disciplines including biathlon, cycling, long-distance running, swimming, judo, skating, and volleyball. Nine out of 10 athletes reported food supplements on a regular basis and they consumed an average of 335 products: energy drinks, multi-vitamins, minerals, and powdered protein supplements. Fréchette found their knowledge of food supplements to be weak and remarked the role of proteins is particularly misunderstood and said only one out of four consumers could associate a valid reason, backed by scientific literature, for taking the product according.

Seventy percent of athletes in Fréchette’s study didn’t feel their performance would suffer if they stopped such consumption despite the widespread use of protein supplements and Fréchette said more than 66 percent of those who believed to have bad eating habits took supplements. For those who claimed to have ‘good’ or ‘very good’ eating habits that number climbs to 90 percent. He further stressed that supplements come with certain risks and contended that their purity and preparation aren’t as controlled as prescription medication and sports supplements often contain other ingredients than those listed on the label and some athletes consume prohibited drugs without knowing.

No less than 81 percent of athletes taking supplements already had sufficient protein from their diet, Fréchette said and added that the use of multivitamins and minerals can make up for an insufficient intake of calcium, folate yet not for lack of potassium. Other studies have shown that 12 to 20 percent of products that are regularly used by athletes include prohibited substances and a particular interest by the athletes on the efficiency, legality, and safety of those drugs was observed by Fréchette. The researcher and graduate of the Université de Montréal Department of Nutrition also remarked that consumers of supplements had levels of sodium, magnesium, niacin, folate, vitamin A and iron that exceeded the acceptable norms, which makes them susceptible to health problems such as nausea, vision trouble, fatigue and liver anomalies.

In another study, Tim Byers, MD, MPH, professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health and associate director for prevention and control at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, disclosed that Beta-carotene, selenium and folic acid have now been shown to increase the risk of developing a host of cancers. Byers added that we need to do a better job as a society in ensuring that the messages people get about value versus risk is accurate for nutritional supplements and also added that his conclusion is that taking high doses of any particular nutrient is more likely to be a bad thing than a good thing.

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Tuesday 19, Mar 2013

  Blame Swimmers Not Coaches For London Flop, says Nick D’Arcy

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Blame Swimmers Not Coaches For London Flop, says Nick D’Arcy

Controversial 25-year-old Nick D’Arcy believes his fellow swimmers have to take responsibility for the disappointing show of Australia in the London Olympic pool last year rather than blaming coaches and team management.

D’Arcy, who swam well outside his personal best to crash out of the 200 meters butterfly in the semi-finals in London, remarked the review of team culture released on Tuesday was deliberately inflammatory. According to the Bluestone review, team management had failed to prevent a “toxic culture” from developing in the swimming squad that produced the worst Olympic results by Australia in 20 years.

It was disclosed by the review that the abuse of prescription drugs and alcohol and flouting of curfews and bullying had gone unchecked and contributed to the under-performance.

D’Arcy added some of the things outlined there were designed to be more inflammatory than anything else and also went on to say he thinks we are just trying to look for excuses and trying to pass the buck. The swimmer added he certainly didn’t perform the way he would have liked to and takes full personal responsibility for that.

Meanwhile, Swimming Australia has appointed a panel to investigate allegations of drunkenness, misuse of prescription drugs, breaching curfews, deceit and bullying by members of the London Olympic team. In a news release, Swimming Australia president Barclay Nettlefold said we have to investigate these allegations and deal with them appropriately by putting in place the right framework to establish the right culture. Nettlefold added he will be encouraging the panel to look at each allegation and we want to stop talking about rumors and act on the facts of what did or did not actually occur.

Swimming Australia remarked six members of the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team had come forward to discuss a team bonding session at a training camp in Manchester before the Games. The squad (James Magnussen, Matt Targett, Eamon Sullivan, James Roberts, Cameron McEvoy, and Tommaso D’Orsogna) arrived in London confident of winning the gold, but ended up fourth in the final.

The panel, comprising former Australian Rugby Union chairman Peter McGrath and three members of the SA board, will start work on their investigations immediately.

An Independent Swimming Review into the high performance program at Swimming Australia commissioned by the Australian Sports Commission made 35 recommendations for improvements and alleged that some team members had been subjected to initiation rituals involving Stilnox – a sedative banned by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) just before the Games. The prescription drug Stilnox was banned by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) just before the 2012 Games and James Magnussen and his teammates from the Australian men’s 4x100m freestyle relay squad who admitted to using the sedative now face sanctions from the governing body for breaching their Olympic team membership agreement. The six swimmers said in a statement read out at a news conference we stand here collectively to confirm that we did take part in a bonding exercise during which members of the relay team took Stilnox.

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Monday 02, Jul 2012

  Anavar Use In Sports

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Anavar (also known as AnVar, Oxandrolone, and Oxandrin) is one of the most popular body weight and fat reduction drugs among amateur and professional sportsmen.

This artificial anabolic steroid derivative of dihydrotestosterone is a 17-alpha alkylated steroid that is popular among athletes across the world as it has only a minimal impact on enzymes of the liver. Moreover to that, the efficiency improving medication is not associated with aromatization that means users of this anabolic steroid need not worry about estrogenic adverse reactions such as gynecomastia, bloating, greasy skin, and acne. If that was not all, Anavar use is not relevant to a negative influence on the body’s normal androgenic hormone or testosterone production (HPTA axis).

In inclusion to these advantages, use of Anavar is also related with preserved muscle mass, improved body structure, and decrease in excess bodyweight and fat while helping users gain trim, overall look. A small majority of athletes even use this steroid clinically to balance out protein catabolism that is caused by administration of corticosteroids in the long run. Some athletes even use Oxandrolone for finding significant relief from anemia and genetic angioedaema. If that was not all, AnVar is also used by athletes and others for reducing bone pain associated with osteoporosis and reduce muscle wasting associated with HIV/AIDS.

Professional athletes, especially those in cycling, swimming, boxing, and mixed martial arts, use this excellent cutting cycle steroid to catch up and even stand above the competition while losing extra fat and getting strong muscles and benefit from body strength and trim overall look at the same time. Anavar use in sports is mainly because of the fact that the steroid leads to extraordinary and nearly lasting gains in the perspective of muscle function, endurance, body strength, weight-loss, fat reduction, and efficiency without putting users in risk of side effects of steroids, efficiency improving drugs, and estrogens.

Anavar use in sports is also relevant with improving the levels of efficiency and sculpting overall look of the body without limiting on already-gained muscle definition and mass. The steroid is commonly stacked with Equipoise, Trenbolone, and testosterone compounds such as testosterone enanthate during a steroid cycle of six to eight weeks. It is beneficial to note that Anavar can be used by athletes suffering with specific health conditions after informing the concerned regulating authorities in advance about such use. However, a healthcare prescription is required to verify legitimateness of such use so that Anavar is not misused by athletes.

Wednesday 09, Mar 2011

  Australia’s swimming in drug scandal

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Australia's swimming in drug scandalAustralia’s swimming stars have also publicly prided themselves on being free from drugs while being very ready to aggressively point accusatory fingers when swimmers of other nations register wins.

But the country’s pride has hurted severely when Gennadi Touretski, the Australian coach of stars like butterfly world record holder and Olympic 400m relay gold medallist Michael Klim, was charged with possessing a banned anabolic steroid.

Touretski maintains his innocence and will appear in Canberra magistrate’s court.

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