Shayna Jack Hits Out At “Seriously Flawed System” As She Prepares CAS Challenge To Doping Ban

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Shayna Jack (second from left) is primed to fight to clear her name and rejoin her teammates on the Australian Swim Team.Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

The gloves are off as banned Australian swim star Shayna Jack prepares for the fight of her life to clear her name against what she has described as a “seriously flawed system”.

Jack has posted an update on her Facebook page as she prepares to front a hearing with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in her bid to get back in the pool and re-join her team mates for next year’s postponed Tokyo Olympics.

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READY TO FIGHT: Shayna Jack, determined to clear her name. Photo Courtesy: Shayna Jack Facebook.

The 21-year-old Commonwealth Games gold medallist and member of Australia’s world record breaking 4x100m freestyle relay team was sent home from the Australian team camp in Japan (en-route to Korea for the Fina World Championships) last year after she had tested positive to Ligandrol, a muscle-growth agent.

Shayna Jack has denied knowingly taking the drug. Now, she writes on Facebook:

“There are many aspects of the anti-doping system that are seriously flawed but possibly the worst element is the presumption of guilt that one has to bear,” wrote Jack.

“Not everyone will fight a flawed system and find themselves ostracised from their friends and support group for something they did not do.

“If you do though, stand up and fight and know that your honour will always be defended if you tell the truth.”

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WANTS BACK IN THE POOL: Shayna Jack’s CAS hearing looms closer. Photo Courtesy: FINIS

She said that now her real fight begins “after nearly twelve months ago (when) my world was turned upside down due to allegations of using a prohibited substance in my sport.

“I (have) received further notice in relation to my hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS),” said Jack.

“Despite a lifetime of competing clean and knowing that I had not used any prohibited substance, my life changed in an instance and I was pitchforked into an unknown world of lawyers, politics and machinations that was completely foreign to me. 

“The process has been extremely arduous and debilitating at times.

“What sort of system infers that you are guilty of an alleged breach and the responsibility falls on you to prove your innocence? 

“Now though, I have an opportunity to stand and fight for my career and reputation. 

“I intend to win this fight and put myself back in the pool and reclaim my position as a member of the Australian swim team. 

“Everyone knows what it is like to have something precious taken away from them and I am no different. 

“However, regaining my team membership and opportunity to competitively swim again is not my sole objective. 

“Throughout this ordeal, I have learnt a considerable amount about myself. 

“I learnt that the purest pursuit for me was my sport of swimming…and that my individuality and uniqueness was the grounds for my underlying strength. 

“I became acutely aware of my residual determination and my absolute and all-encompassing desire for the truth to be revealed. 

“My understanding of the value of positive mental health and the benefits of a strong and positive mind was reinforced. 

“My belief in who I am and what I stand for was fortified and my understanding of how my message is one to be shared with others was cemented.”

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‘IT’S COMING TO AN END..” Dean Boxall – Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Last week Shayna Jack’s coach Dean Boxall  told ABC radio: “It is coming to the end, which is fantastic. We feel really positive about it.

“She is also nervous, the poor girl, because she knows this is it, you have no more road to go on,” he said.

“What comes up ahead is where we will be… the date is pretty soon, it will be imminent really.

“This whole journey is coming to an end.”

Due to her positive test Shayna Jack has been unable to train in Boxall’s squad or any other Swimming Australia High Performance program.

But Swimming Australia has provided mental health assistance throughout the process.

Boxall said Jack had been trying to stay optimistic but had still been anxious as her appeal hearing loomed.

Jack’s key question – “What sort of system infers that you are guilty of an alleged breach and the responsibility falls on you to prove your innocence?” – touches a key pillar of the WADA Code: that the athlete is responsible for what ends up in their body. The Code states “… it is each athlete‘s personal duty to ensure that no Prohibited Substance enters his or her body. athletes are responsible for any Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers found to be present in their Samples.”

Whether Shayna Jack and her lawyers can persuade the CAS that the WADA Code and the processes that follow an adverse analytical finding are “flawed” remains to be seen. The bigger question that CAS judges are likely to ask is “how did the substance end up in the athlete’s body and is the explanation one that raises reasonable doubt?”.

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