Sport Integrity Australia’s boss says he didn’t want to heap more trauma on drug-tainted swimmer Shayna Jack by appealing her two-year doping ban.
But SIA chief executive officer David Sharpe says his agency’s appeal, which could have doubled Jack’s suspension to four years, was crucial for rules in future doping cases.
“This was never about Shayna,” Sharpe told AAP in his first public comments on the controversial doping case.
” … We were challenging the application of the rules – absolutely not challenging Shayna and wanting to put her through any more trauma.
“But the system meant that we had to challenge the application of the rules.”
Jack was initially banned for four years after testing positive to Ligandrol on June 26, 2019, almost three weeks before the world swim titles in South Korea.
The Queenslander appealed to CAS, which reduced her suspension to two years and found Jack didn’t knowingly ingest the substance after hearing evidence of her good character.
SIA appealed that verdict.
“Shayna was sanctioned for having a substance in her system,” Sharpe said.
“World anti-doping requires there to be evidence of how that substance entered the system, even if it’s inadvertent.
“We believed that that evidence didn’t exist in the first tribunal and that evidence of good character was used, which is fine and not doubted in any way.
“But that is not evidence of how it either entered the system inadvertently or deliberately.
“So what was important for us, if evidence of good character was able to be used as a first time in these matters, they could be used every time.
“If evidence of good character could be bought in all cases, we needed to adapt how we approach cases.”
SIA in July last year replaced the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, of which Sharpe was also chief executive.
CAS last month ruled on the SIA appeal, determining Jack’s two-year doping ban would stand. She has served the ban and vowed to return to swimming.
“The outcome of the appeal was in support of us and WADA (the World-Anti-Doping Agency),” Sharpe said.
“The application of the rules in that instance was wrong in the first case and they have acknowledged that and acknowledged that we were justified in our appeal.
“Now we move on with the rules as they stand. We have got clarity.
“What they did find, there was an issue with the original matter with evidence she provided to that original tribunal and how that was interpreted, so they stuck with the two-year suspension rather than four on that basis.
“And certainly our application of the rules that we challenged was upheld, so that was important.”