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"Not everyone will fight a flawed system": Jack defiant ahead of doping ban appeal

Australian swimmer Shayna Jack is fighting to clear her name. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)
18th May, 2020
10

A defiant Shayna Jack says she intends to clear her name when her appeal against a doping ban is heard and return to the Australian swimming team.

In a defiant social media post, Jack said she was ready to “win this fight” after revealing that she had been told by the Court of Arbitration for Sport that her appeal against a four-year ban would be heard soon but did not specify a date.

Jack, 21, has protested her innocence since being stood down from the Australian team in the lead-up to the 2019 world titles in July and it emerged she had tested positive to Ligandrol, a muscle growth agent.

A member of Australia’s world record-breaking 4x100m freestyle relay team, Jack has denied knowingly taking the drug and claimed the banned substance could have got into her system by contamination.

“Now the real fight begins… I received further notice in relation to my hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” Jack posted on Instagram with a picture of her shadowboxing.

“I intend to win this fight and put myself back in the pool and reclaim my position as a member of the Australian swim team.

“Everyone knows what it is like to have something precious taken away from them and I am no different.”

View this post on Instagram

Now the real fight begins. Today I received further notice in relation to my hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Nearly twelve months ago, my world was turned upside down due to allegations of using a prohibited substance in my sport. Despite a lifetime of competing clean and knowing that I had not used any prohibited substance, my life changed in an instance and I was pitchforked into an unknown world of lawyers, politics and machinations that was completely foreign to me. The process has been extremely arduous and debilitating at times. There are many aspects of the anti-doping system that are seriously flawed but possibly the worst element is the presumption of guilt that one has to bear. What sort of system infers that you are guilty of an alleged breach and the responsibility falls on you to prove your innocence? Now though, I have an opportunity to stand and fight for my career and reputation. I intend to win this fight and put myself back in the pool and reclaim my position as a member of the Australian swim team. Everyone knows what it is like to have something precious taken away from them and I am no different. However, regaining my team membership and opportunity to competitively swim again is not my sole objective. Throughout this ordeal, I have learnt a considerable amount about myself. I learnt that the purest pursuit for me was my sport of swimming. I learnt that my individuality and uniqueness was the grounds for my underlying strength. I became acutely aware of my residual determination and my absolute and all-encompassing desire for the truth to be revealed. My understanding of the value of positive mental health and the benefits of a strong and positive mind was reinforced. My belief in who I am and what I stand for was fortified and my understanding of how my message is one to be shared with others was cemented. Not everyone will fight a flawed system and find themselves ostracised from their friends and support group for something they did not do. If you do though, stand up and fight and know that your honour will always be defended if you tell the truth.

A post shared by Shayna Jack (@shayna_jack) on

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Jack is expected to take the stand when she fronts CAS via video conference due to coronavirus restrictions to appeal the four-year ban recommended by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority in March.

It was the maximum suspension for a first doping offence.

“There are many aspects of the anti-doping system that are seriously flawed but possibly the worst element is the presumption of guilt that one has to bear,” Jack said.

“What sort of system infers that you are guilty of an alleged breach and the responsibility falls on you to prove your innocence?”

Swimming Australia (SA) banned Jack from training with coach Dean Boxall’s squad and from using its accredited pools since the positive drug test and can’t provide financial support during her legal fight.

However, SA has provided mental health assistance throughout the process.

Boxall last week said Jack had been trying to stay optimistic but had still been anxious, revealing her appeal was “imminent”.

“Not everyone will fight a flawed system and find themselves ostracised from their friends and support group for something they did not do,” Jack posted.

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“If you do though, stand up and fight and know that your honour will always be defended if you tell the truth.”

© AAP