Adam Peaty: Bring in weekly drug testing or fans will ignore swimming

Adam Peaty

The 50m and 100m breaststroke world record holder, Adam Peaty, believes weekly drug tests are the only way to keep swimming clean following recent allegations about Russian state doping.

Peaty, who won three gold medals at the world championships last summer in Kazan, is preparing for the British Olympic trials in a fortnight’s time and revealed that he had been tested three times in the past few weeks. However, the 21-year-old expressed concern about the regularity of testing throughout the world.

Russia is currently banned from international athletics competition, yet the swimming world body Fina has stated it is not aware of “concrete evidence of systematic doping” in Russia despite reports of a similar organised drug culture to that in track and field. This month Yuliya Efimova, the four-time breaststroke world champion, was suspended after testing positive for meldonium.

Peaty said he would not judge all Russian swimmers as dopers but believes weekly testing should be brought in. “I know testing week-on-week is expensive for governing bodies,” he said. “But what is more expensive is people coming out as cheats and then people [spectators] not watching. That’s more expensive to the sport.

“[The coach] Jon Rudd down in Plymouth believes in more testing as well, with Ruta Meilutyte and his athletes like Ben Proud. He’s challenged testers to test every week if not twice a week because that’s the way it should be. Hopefully after the Olympics I’m tested every other week and other athletes are as well, that’s the way it should be.

“If I win Olympic gold and people look at me as a cheat because I’ve won, it’s hugely disrespectful. Swimming and all other sports have got to get to the place where you have the trust of the people watching it. You don’t want people thinking you’re a cheat just because you’re really fast and have broken the world record by a second. Hopefully it all settles down, the cheats are caught and the true athletes start to win.”

On the Russian allegations, Peaty added: “Certain individuals like Efimova, with drugs like that, it’s hard to say you’ve done well. But hopefully I’ll line up against Russians and they will be as hard working as I am – that’s the way it should be.

“If you line up against a doper, no matter from what country, it’s wrong. But I’m not going to blame a whole country. In my eyes that’s wrong because there are hard-working people. I’m just going to race and leave it to Wada and Fina to sort it out.”

Fina is reviewing the decision by the Chinese Swimming Association to let two of its swimmers off with warnings for failed tests. Wang Lizhuo and An Jiabao tested positive for a banned substance and the CSA were notified in September 2015.

A Fina statement said: “Fina notes the recent media articles about positive tests for the Chinese swimmers Wang Lizhuo and An Jiabao for clenbuterol and the sanctions imposed by the Chinese Swimming Association. Fina has received the decisions issued on these two athletes and is currently reviewing them.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by James Riach, for The Guardian on Wednesday 30th March 2016 23.09 Europe/London

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