Swimming: CAS halves Australian Jack's doping ban to two years

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(Reuters) - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Monday halved Australian swimmer Shayna Jack's four-year ban for a positive drug test before last year's world championships, saying she did not intentionally ingest the banned anabolic agent Ligandrol.

The 22-year-old freestyle swimmer was withdrawn from the team days before the championships in Gwangju, South Korea, having tested positive for the substance in an out-of-competition test on June 26 last year.

Swimming Australia provisionally suspended Jack before the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority said she would be banned for four years commencing July 12, 2019 subject to any procedure she would initiate at CAS.

"Jack is found to have committed a violation of Article 2.1 of the Swimming Australia Ltd Anti-Doping Policy 2015 and is suspended for a period of two years commencing as from the date of her provisional suspension," CAS said in a statement.

"... The sole arbitrator in charge of this matter found, on the balance of probabilities, that Jack did not intentionally ingest Ligandrol and considered that she had discharged her onus of proving the anti-doping rule violation was not intentional.

"As a consequence, the sole arbitrator imposed a reduced period of ineligibility of two years, commencing on the date of her provisional suspension."

Jack, who is set to miss the Tokyo Olympics next year, said on Instagram that sport's highest court "confirmed in emphatic terms" that she did not intentionally use Ligandrol.

"There was no evidence produced by my accusers as to how this substance entered my system. With the time out of the sport dating back to July 2019, I'll be eligible to return to competitive swimming by July 2021," she said.

"... I cannot change the rules and the rules will remain as they are for the time being. Therefore, I accept this decision with a positive attitude and with gratitude that my career as a swimmer will resume next year."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)