Shayna Jack’s lawyer claims Court docket of Arbitration for Sport ruling proves Australian swimmer did not cheat

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Shayna Jack's lawyer claims Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling proves Australian swimmer didn't cheat

Shayna Jack’s attorney says the Australian swimmer has reason to feel vindicated by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) decision to reduce her doping ban to two years.

Important points:

  • CAS ruled that Jack had “not intentionally” used the banned substance Ligandrol
  • The 22-year-old can return to competitive swimming in 2021, but cannot qualify for Olympic qualification
  • Jack said she would “go a little bigger” after the verdict

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency, whose functions are now carried out by Sport Integrity Australia, had recommended Jack receive a four-year ban after testing positive for the banned substance Ligandrol last year.

The positive doping test had forced Jack to withdraw from the Australian squad at the 2019 World Swimming Championships in South Korea.

Jack made an appeal to the Switzerland-based CAS, which last night decided the outcome of the out-of-competition test that the Commonwealth Games gold medalist included Ligandrol, but not on purpose.

CAS imposed a reduced sanction of two years – starting on the date of her provisional suspension (July 12, 2019) – which means she can return to competitive swimming next July but will miss Australia’s qualifying period for the Tokyo Olympics.

Jack’s Brisbane-based attorney Tim Fuller said the CAS ruling proved the 22-year-old was not a doping fraud.

“I think perhaps the most notable thing about this case is the fact that the court was very, very forceful in saying that there was no intent and that it was all about fraud,” he told ABC.

“This is not someone who set out to take advantage of the system. She was caught in an inexplicable situation.

“And that is exactly what the court – after a comprehensive and long-term investigation and hearing – actually decided.”

Jack (left) won the Commonwealth Games gold in 2018 as a member of the Australian 4×100 meter freestyle relay team. (AAP: Darren England)

Mr. Fuller said Jack had “mixed feelings” about not being able to qualify for the Olympics next year.

But he said she was encouraged to go back to her career.

“She can’t get back to competitive swimming until July next year,” said Fuller.

“But look, in the end your career will be saved.”

Mr. Fuller said CAS recognized Jack’s honesty.

“One of the things that came up with that decision was that she wasn’t trying to circulate these wild theories about how it got into her body,” he said.

“She was just open and honest and said ‘I don’t know’ and that is what the court decided.”

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Jack took to Instagram last night to express her relief after the verdict.

“I accept this decision with a positive attitude and with gratitude that my swimming career will resume next year,” wrote Jack.

“During this ordeal, I never doubted myself for a minute or let my integrity be compromised.

“I’m going a little bigger tonight because this ordeal is finally over.”

Sport Integrity Australia released a statement Monday evening that it was still satisfied “based on the information available to the agency to recommend a four-year sanction”.

The agency’s executive director, David Sharpe, said he would “look into the decision before making further comments.”

Sport Integrity Australia had 21 days to appeal.

Jack was seen as a rising star in Australian swimming prior to her positive doping test.

She was a member of the Australian 4x100m Freestyle Relay Team, which set a world record at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

At the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, she won two silver and two bronze medals in relays.