Irish News

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Irish swimmer Barry Murphy demands action to stop cheats

DION FANNING

Published 05/08/2012|05:00

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Irish swimmer Barry Murphy has spoken of his frustration at competing at the Olympics against swimmers he believes are taking performance-enhancing drugs.

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In a week when the achievements of 16-year-old Chinese double gold medallist Ye Shiwen were questioned, Murphy called on swimming authorities to follow the lead of cycling and introduce biological passports. "There are certain things going on in the sport and you can almost go into the locker room back there and point out who is doing it," Murphy said after his elimination from the 50m freestyle last week. "Just by their physique, and the way a swimmer races, you can tell who's at it."

Murphy said the introduction of biological passports "has to be done". Last week, FINA, the world swimming body, announced that they planned to introduce a pilot project using biological passports.

"There are guys who are in there, who are failing tests and they are not even getting suspensions, they are just getting warnings and that is a disgrace," Murphy said. "I have always pushed for a clean sport, I think it is essential. If you can't win anything cleanly, then it is not worth winning."

On Friday night, Brazilian Cesar Cielo took bronze in Murphy's event. Cielo, the world record holder, tested positive for a banned substance last year which is prohibited as it's often used as a masking agent.

FINA had challenged the decision of the Brazilian doping authorities only to give Cielo a warning, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the decision and stated that FINA accepted Cielo did not take the drug to enhance his performance. Cielo had insisted that he had taken the drug in a contaminated batch of a food supplement he took regularly and a pharmacy was blamed for the contamination. He won gold at the World Championships in Shanghai shortly after the positive test.

"Of course it is disheartening. There are guys who are going into the 50-free semis and final who have failed tests and they are still here," Murphy said. "People know who they are, so it is frustrating when you are trying to do it the right way. But it is not up to me or anyone else to tell those guys they shouldn't be here. It is up to WADA and FINA to catch them and implement the proper sanctions.

"I'm in the pool six hours a day, putting my heart and soul into this sport, trying to eat right, trying to live as healthy a life as possible and there are other guys who are just doing it the easy way. Everyone could do it the easy way if they want. But it's not like that, it can't be like that for our sport." Murphy still believed the good in swimming outweighed the bad.

"The negativity can be detrimental to the sport, but then people see Phelps winning 22 medals and that is going to inspire kids to take up the sport -- it inspires me to be a better swimmer. There are good and bad in all sports and it affects sports in different ways."

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