Drug test fears for swimmer

2012-03-26 15:30

Paris - France's former Olympic champion swimmer Laure Manaudou said in a newspaper interview published on Monday that she is living with the threat of suspension after missing two drugs tests this season.

The 25-year-old, who has qualified for the London Games in the 100m and 200m backstroke, told Le Parisien that she missed two tests last September, the first because she got the wrong time and the second because she was out at a restaurant.

"That means that if I miss another one I would be suspended," she was quoted as saying.

"In people's minds, it's like a positive test," she added, saying that she had been "permanently stressed" ever since about missing a third test, which could effectively end her Olympic hopes.

Like other elite athletes Manaudou, the 400m freestyle champion at the Athens Olympics in 2004, has to tell drug testers her precise whereabouts and indicate a time of the day when she is able to undergo a test.

Missing three out-of-competition tests in 18 months is considered a breach of anti-doping rules, which can lead to suspension, as happened to Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu, who received a one-year ban for missing tests in 2005 and 2006.

Manaudou said in the interview: "I take care of everything myself so I'm responsible. If anything happens to me, I can only blame myself.

"That's why I officially left the sport in 2009. I didn't want to keep living with this constraint knowing that it could mean missing the Games."

The swimmer had a miserable experience at her last Olympics in 2008 at Beijing, where she finished eighth and last in the 400m, seventh in the 100m freestyle and failed to qualify for the 200m backstroke final.

She then took a three-year break from swimming, where she wasn't subject to random testing, and resumed competing after a probationary period.