'Strong warning' to Riley on drug test

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The Independent Online

Samantha Riley, the Australian world champion, yesterday escaped suspension and was handed a "strong warning" from the sport's world governing body following a positive drugs test - but her coach was suspended for two years.

The International swimming federation, Fina, said that Riley had tested positive for a propoxyphene metabolite at the World Short-course Championships in Rio de Janeiro on 1 December, but the substance had no potential to enhance her performance.

Earlier in the day Dawn Fraser, the former Olympic champion, had urged Fina to impose a maximum two-year ban on her compatriot. Fraser said that the 100 metres breaststroke world-record holder was "stupid" to have taken an unlabelled tablet at the meeting.

Riley produced a positive test for the banned painkiller and her coach, Scott Volkers, admitted the substance was in a prescription tablet he mistakenly gave the swimmer because of a headache.

Fraser, who won gold medals at the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympics, said that Riley should not have taken the tablet if she did not know what it was.

"I think she's a very, very stupid person to put anything in her mouth when she didn't know what it was," she said.

"Fina leave themselves open for the Chinese federation to come back to them and say: 'Well, the coach gave it to our swimmers', whatever it was they gave to the swimmers, whatever the drugs that those swimmers were banned for.

"I feel the most normal practice of the international federation is [to impose] the maximum penalty."

Riley won both the 100 and 200m breaststroke gold medals at the 1994 World Championships in Rome, was named swimmer of the meet after collecting two golds at last year's Pan Pacific championships in Atlanta, and set two world short-course records and won three gold medals at the Rio meeting.