By Stephen J. Thomas
SYDNEY, August 27. AUSTRALIAN Swimming Inc. today announced a three-month ban on Sydney based swimmer Andrew Burns after the dorsal specialist tested positive to two banned recreational drugs during the Sydney Grand Prix in June.
A three-person ASI judiciary committee heard the case last Saturday and informed the 20-year-old member of the national squad of the suspension today.
On June 21 Burns was tested by the Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA) and subsequently returned a valid positive test result to two banned stimulants;
(a) ethyldenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly known as "Ecstacy," and (b) methyldenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) – substances commonly found in recreational drugs.
Burns' suspension is effective from August 1, 2003 until November 1, 2003.
At the 2003 Nationals in March, the promising backstroker placed third in the 100m (PR 56.09) and fourth in the 200m. He also won gold medals in both these events at the Rome leg of the Mare Nostrum just prior to returning to Sydney to compete in the GP meet where the positive test was obtained.
In an official statement Australian Swimming chief executive Glenn Tasker said: “Andrew’s ban prevents him from all official training with New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS), Australian Swimming, and all competition. He is also required to repay the A$800 he won at the Sydney Grand Prix and a A$1000 Direct Athlete Support payment for the period July-Sept 2003.”
In a statement issued today Andrew Burns said:
“I would like to say that I received a fair hearing by Australian Swimming and I accept the sanction that has been handed down.
“I just want the next two months to go as quickly as possible so I can rejoin the sport I love so much and I want to apologise to my family and friends and the swimming community in general for any embarrassment I have caused them.”
In February this year, South African swimmer Kenneth Smith was also handed down a three-month penalty after testing positive for the same stimulants.