Omaha (United States) (AFP)
American breaststroke star Lilly King, a vocal critic of swimming’s doping control efforts, says she fears the coronavirus pandemic has allowed cheaters to head to the Tokyo Olympics.
“Certainly concerning, but especially with Covid,” said King, Rio 2016 100m breaststroke gold medalist and 50m and 100m world record holder, as she prepared for the US Olympic trials. swimming events that started on Sunday.
“I would definitely say that some of the countries that haven’t been so trustworthy are probably taking advantage of the time they had without testing,” said King, who kicks off his 100m breaststroke practice campaign on Monday.
“I know I’ve been tested over 20 times in the past year, so I know Americans are well taken care of,” King said. “But I think, unfortunately, the Americans can control what they can control, but the rest of the world, I’m not so sure. “
King has long been critical of doping in sport and the doping control efforts of FINA, the international governing body.
After winning the 100m breaststroke final in Rio, King, then 19, refused to shake hands with Russian silver medalist Yuliya Efimova, who had served a 16-month suspension for taking a banned steroid .
As their rivalry has become less hostile, King says she still opposes the race against those who have served bans – and would even if they are from the United States.
“My positions are clear,” she said. “I don’t think people should be cheating. I don’t know what the repercussions of doping bans should be. I think it depends on the organizations. But I don’t want to run cheating people who have served bans. “
USA Swimming President and CEO Tim Hinchey also expressed concern that a “blackout” on anti-doping measures in some areas during the pandemic, when the competition was closed and the blockages that have limited movement and face-to-face contact disrupt out-of-competition. trial.
But he expressed optimism that FINA, under the leadership of newly elected president Husain Al Musallam, was moving in the right direction.
Al Musallam, a former swimmer from Kuwait, was elected this month. He was the only candidate to replace Julio Maglione, who had been president since 2009.
Al Musallam has appointed Brent Nowicki, a U.S. lawyer who headed the Court of Arbitration for the Sports Anti-Doping Division for Rio and Pyeongchang 2018, as executive director.
“I think there is no doubt that there are concerns,” Hinchey said. “I think you talk to our athletes and our coaches, talk to our staff, there’s no doubt there’s been a bit of a blackout, I think.
“I think what gives me confidence for the future in particular are the recent changes at FINA. I think Husain has made this an important part of his new schedule as the new incoming president of FINA. “
Nonetheless, King said she has no doubts there will be doped swimmers in the Tokyo pool.
“As always, unfortunately,” she said. ” Yes. “
© 2021 AFP