Shayna Jack releases in-depth statement following failed drug test

Shayna Jack releases in-depth statement following failed drug test

Australian swimmer Shayna Jack has released an in-depth statement regarding the failed drug test scandal, where she tested positive on both A and B samples to the banned substance Ligandrol — a drug used to aid muscle growth and treat osteoporosis.

In the statement, Ms Jack said when she heard the news she had tested positive to a prohibited substance, she felt her heart break “instantaneously.”

She said: “I was in complete shock, asking myself how and why is this happening to me.”

Ms Jack was told via a phone call with a woman from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) she had tested positive.

“She went on to explain what was found in my system, I had never heard of it before, let alone know how to pronounce it; she said it was ‘Ligandrol’,” the swimmer said.

“I now know that this can be found in contaminated supplements.”

She continued: “Reminding myself of why I swim and why I want to be in the Australian team is what has kept me fighting.

“The day I found out was the day I began my fight to prove my innocence.”

Ms Jack concluded: “I get tested approximately every four to six weeks, so why would I take anything banned and do this to myself?

“Especially leading up to a competition where I could be tested daily.

“Why would I put myself through this anguish and risk jeopardising my career and my character?

“I did not and would not cheat and will continue to fight to clear my name.”

Ms Jack’s coach, Dean Boxall, believes the athlete will be cleared by ASADA and believes her claim she had no clue as to how the substance was found in her system.

Mr Boxall said: “I knew just when Shayna was told, I was called into the room when she was informed.

“I walked into a very distraught girl. I’ve never seen someone that upset, which of course made me very upset.”

Originally, “personal reasons” were cited by Swimming Australia (SA) as the reason for Ms Jack pulling out of the 2019 World Aquatics Championships.

This was because she did not want the test results to be made public for fear it would unsettle fellow swimmers at the world titles, which meant Mr Boxall and the select few staff that knew had to keep it secret.

“I certainly hadn’t told anybody, not even my wife,” Mr Boxall said.

“You could probably call it a burden. But we did the best thing, that was part of the process.

“Shayna wanted that as well. I thought we stuck to our guns and did a great job for the team.”

He added:

“Everybody did their job, now that it’s come out, people are feeling saddened.

“We absolutely didn’t talk about it.”

She revealed on social media two weeks later she had been forced to withdraw over the test failure.

SA is standing by Ms Jack for being “open and honest” about her failed drug test.

SA became aware of the test result on 12 July and Ms Jack was provisionally suspended.

The organisation came under fire for its handling of the result, and was accused of trying to cover up the finding.

SA says it was prevented from disclosing details because of a privacy agreement struck with ASADA.

SA Chief Executive Leigh Russell told the ABC on Monday Ms Jack’s situation was “quite different” from that of China’s swimmer Sun Yang, who competed at the world championships despite currently facing allegations of doping rule violations.

Ms Russell said SA would be providing support to Ms Jack while ASADA continues its investigations.

“My understanding from Shayna is she doesn’t know how she’s come into contact with the drug,” Ms Russell said.

“She’s trying to find a reason for this substance in her body. Quite rightly she’s asking the question about perhaps what might she have ingested that is contaminated.”

Ms Russell denied there was a double standard, as SA backed Australian swimmer Mark Horton’s protest against Mr Sun.

She said: “I think the two are quite different actually.

“Mack’s protest was about an athlete who is going through a process that was still able to compete at the world championships.

“Our process in Australia is simply that once we have been notified that an athlete has had an adverse test finding, our job is then to remove them immediately from the team environment so they’re not able to compete.”

Balanced journalism is essential to keeping people properly informed. If you feel our coverage of this story is biased, please let us know.