Swimming Australia has come under fire for the second time this week with an athlete claiming contestants lied about their disabilities to be able to compete.
A former member of the Australian Dolphins Para swimming team, Ashleigh Cockburn, claimed there is a culture of ‘intentional misrepresentation’ which has become expected from disabled competitors.
‘As a former member of the team, I witnessed intentional misrepresentation become not only accepted but expected,’ Ms Cockburn wrote for news.com.au.
A former member of the Australian Dolphins Para swimming team, Ashleigh Cockburn (pictured right) claims there is a culture of ‘misrepresentation’ from disabled competitors
Swimming Australia is already in hot water for a lack of transparency surrounding swimmer Shayna Jack (pictured) testing positive for a banned substance
‘Throughout my career, I heard athletes casually mention how they had been thrown in the snow prior to classification so their muscles and joints were far stiffer than usual.
‘Others bound their limbs to restrict flexibility, strength and fine motor skills or pushed themselves to physical exhaustion just before the test in order to reduce stamina and power.’
The accusations come ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games and athletes preparing for classification, a process that groups athletes with similar ability to compete against each other.
Another current Australian Paralympic swimmer, who did not want to be named, alleged these sorts of practices were very common.
She said there was frustration among legitimately impaired athletes as they watched rivals claim medals, records, and scholarships.
A Swimming Australia spokesperson told the publication they supported the current classification system – which is done by an independent panel of medical professionals and classification experts.
Swimming Australia is already in hot water for a lack of transparency surrounding swimmer Shayna Jack testing positive for a banned substance.
The 20-year-old tested positive to Ligandrol in both her A and B samples ahead of the FINA World Championships in South Korea.
Shayna Jack (pictured right with friend) is facing a four-year-ban unless she can prove did not intentionally take Ligandrol
Ligandrol is an experimental drug used to build lean muscle mass.
Jack has been told on Tuesday by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority she will face a four-year ban unless she can prove she is innocent.
Four years is the standard length of ban for swimmers caught using drugs classed as anabolic.
Earlier the same day she was banned from the International Swimming League as she prepares to fight the doping case.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Swimming Australia for comment.
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