Irish News Archive Papers: May 26 1998: Michelle De Bruin could be banned from swimming for life

Irish Olympic swimming champion Michelle De Bruin angrily rejected drugs allegations made against her by FINA and pledged to fight the charges all the way to protect her good name - and that of Ireland
The Irish News Archive

MICHELLE De Bruin could be banned from swimming for life if the sport’s bosses find she deliberately tampered with a urine sample. FINA, swimming’s governing body, revealed yesterday that analysis of a second specimen given by De Bruin on January 10 in Kilkenny indicated “suspicion of physical manipulation”.

A statement issued by the organisation said: “FINA announce that concerning the case of Michelle De Bruin, the result of the analysis of the B sample confirms that of the A sample.

These results indicated suspicion of physical manipulation. “The case will immediately be submitted to the FINA doping panel for trial in accordance with the FINA rules for consequences of doping control.”

She will be summoned to a disciplinary hearing – which FINA secretary Gunnar Werner said recently would probably take place at the end of next month – after a potentiallylethal dose of alcohol found in a first urine specimen was also discovered in the backup sample. Manipulation of a sample carries a lifetime ban, although De Bruin – who last month said she had been told that the first specimen “smelled strongly of whisky” – can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

De Bruin, 28, has denied tampering with her test and said any manipulation must have taken place after it was out of her sight.

The urine specimen was divided into A and B samples and sealed in separate containers after it was given.

FINA said De Bruin’s A sample, tested earlier at a Barcelona laboratory, showed “unequivocal signs of adulteration” and “physical manipulation.”

De Bruin asked FINA to look at the second specimen last week and the result – which backed up the findings of the A test – was made public yesterday. She first sprung to prominence as Michelle Smith when she won three gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.


A MOBILE home could prove the unlikely key to James McCartan’s further participation in this year’s Ulster football championship.

To satisfy the criteria laid down by the Down county board for GAA transfers, McCartan, whose application for a move from his native Tullylish to Down champions Burren has so far been turned down twice, has become the resident of a mobile home in the Burren district near Warrenpoint.

The former Allstar’s plans have been hampered by a Down GAA bye-law which states those seeking transfers within the county have to be resident in the area of their new club.

Down county chairman Kevin Bell is understood to have visited McCartan on Saturday at his new address on the Ballydesmond Road in Burren to satisfy himself of the bona fides of the footballer’s residency.

County secretary Brian McAvoy said yesterday the setbacks in his transfer attempts had left McCartan “very disappointed” and concerned whether he would be in the right frame of mind to play for Down.

McCartan thought the issue was going to be finally resolved last Thursday evening when he gave the Down activities committee his new address.

However, instead the activities body elected to refer the matter back to South Down board who had made the initial recommendation not to grant McCartan a transfer.

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