Thu, Sep 17, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Australia’s Palmer reprimanded, sets sights on Rio 2016

Reuters, SYDNEY

Olympic relay gold medalist Kylie Palmer has been reprimanded for a 2013 doping violation, Swimming Australia said yesterday, clearing the way for her to compete at next year’s Rio Olympics.

World governing body FINA had initially cleared Palmer in 2013 after the “low levels of a prohibited substance” found in her in-competition sample at the Barcelona World Championships did not show up in other tests conducted around the same time.

However, in February, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) obtained details of the case and subsequently asked the Court of Arbitration of Sport to order FINA to treat the case as an anti-doping violation.

Palmer then voluntarily withdrew from the Australian team for last month’s World Championships in Kazan, Russia, and accepted a temporary suspension.

FINA’s doping panel on Tuesday ruled she should receive only a warning and reprimand, with her results and prize money on the date of the test in 2013 annulled, Swimming Australia said.

The world governing body did not strip her of the 4x200m freestyle silver medal she won in Barcelona.

“Swimming Australia fully supported the process once the matter came before the FINA Doping Tribunal and accepts the findings,” the governing body in Australia said in a statement. “Palmer voluntarily accepted a provisional suspension until the matter was determined by the FINA Doping Panel. As such she is now able to compete whenever she decides to return.”

Swimming Australia had previously said it was concerned at the two-year delay between the test and notification.

Palmer, who strongly denies knowingly ingesting any banned substances, was a 4x200m freestyle relay champion at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a silver medalist in the same event four years later in London.

“I am very pleased that the decision of the panel means that I can return to competitive swimming immediately,” Palmer said in a statement. “My No. 1 goal is to represent Australia at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and I cannot wait to get back on track to achieving that dream.”

“I sincerely hope that this process is now over. It has been a distressing few months since I was first notified of the positive test back in April 2015,” she added.

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