Category: Archive

Banned swimmer disputes drug test security

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

DUBLIN — Disgraced triple Olympic gold medal winner Michelle Smith de Bruin may have been thrown a lifeline in her appeal against a four-year ban for manipulating a drugs test.

An advisor to Paul Edwards, a British shot-putter who is serving a life ban for failing a drugs test, has claimed that the container used for transporting urine samples can be opened.

David Brown has shown that it is possible to open the Versapak security canister — exactly the same sort of container as used in the De Bruin case — by using an electric kettle, a knife, a piece of string and by gently boiling for just three minutes.

According to Brown, it was possible then that both Edward and De Bruin’s urine samples were tampered with. "Considering the recent developments regarding the Versapak container, we believe FINA (the world swimming authority) should now drop all charges against Michelle and reinstate her immediately," said De Bruin’s lawyer, Peter Lennon.

De Bruin was banned for four years for tampering with the sample she gave to testers at her County Kilkenny home in January of 1998. The testers said there was a strong whiskey-like odor in the house at the time.

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However, if De Bruin believes that her A and B samples were manipulated, why did she sign the paperwork that everything was in order at the time of the test? If she was prepared to allege that the two accredited testers had manipulated her samples in any way, then De Bruin would have raised some objection.

It is also hard to imagine her samples being tampered with once they were sent to a Spanish laboratory for analysis. Scientists at the lab have no idea whose urine is under examination as the samples are identified only by a numerical code.

It seems now that the De Bruin camp believe in an elaborate conspiracy dreamed up to discredit her achievements. The Court of Arbitration for Sport will hear the appeal in Lausanne, Switzerland in May.

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