"I applaud the decision": Mack Horton responds to Shayna Jack's positive drug test bombshell
Mack Horton has welcomed the decision to pull fellow Aussie swimmer Shayna Jack out from competition before the World Swimming Championships in South Korea.
Horton, who sparked a debate over doping in swimming after staging a protest against Chinese swimmer Sun Yang last week, said he was disappointed upon learning that his teammate tested positive to a banned substance.
“I was disappointed to learn late yesterday that a fellow Dolphins team member had recently returned a positive A sample,” Horton told Seven Network.
“I applaud the decision to immediately withdraw the athlete in question from further competition until this matter is resolved.
“My position remains firm — clean sport must be a priority for all athletes, all sports and all nations.”
The comment came after Jack linked a two-page statement to her Instagram account explaining that the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) found the drug Ligandrol in her system.
According to ASADA, Ligandrol is claimed to induce muscle growth but has not yet been cleared through clinical trials.
“I was in complete shock, asking myself how and why is this happening to me. My brain repeated over and over: ‘I have always checked my substances’, ‘I didn’t do this’, ‘why is this happening to me?’, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong’,” Jack said in the statement.
After receiving the news on July 12, Jack left the world titles team training camp in Japan and returned to Australia. Horton and other Australian team swimmers were not informed of Jack’s positive drug test result until the Swimming Australia’s announcement on Saturday.
Jack maintained that she did not take any drugs knowingly and “will continue to fight to clear my name”.
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They say a picture is worth a thousand words, in this case a picture can not describe the amount of pain and vulnerability I am feeling right now. It is with great sadness and heartache that I had to leave due to allegations of having a prohibited substance in my system. I did NOT take this substance knowingly. Swimming has been my passion since I was 10 years old and I would never intentionally take a banned substance that would disrespect my sport and jeopardise my career. Now there is an ongoing investigation and my team and I are doing everything we can to find out when and how this substance has come into contact with my body. I would appreciate if you respect my privacy as this is very hard for me to cope with
Swimming Australia CEO Leigh Russell said she felt “distressed” by Horton’s podium protest.
“I absolutely support Mack,” she said. “He’s entitled to say and do on an issue that he is passionate about and we are too. This has not changed our thinking on a zero-tolerance approach or our policy.
“But I certainly was watching Mack [protest], distressed about what would befall both Shayna and Mack in the coming days and week.”