'I'm now free': Shayna Jack celebrates end of two-year doping saga

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
After serving the two-year ban for unknowingly ingesting a banned substance, swimmer Shayna Jack is set to return to the pool for her first competitive action since 2019. Picture: Instagram
After serving the two-year ban for unknowingly ingesting a banned substance, swimmer Shayna Jack is set to return to the pool for her first competitive action since 2019. Picture: Instagram

Australian swimmer Shayna Jack is set to return to the pool for her first competitive outing since serving a two-year doping ban.

The 23-year-old will return to competition at the Queensland State Championships this week, her first taste of competitive swimming since 2019.

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It's been a long road back to competition for Jack, who had her initial four-year ban for ingesting the banned substance ligandrol reduced to two years on appeal.

Jack's sentence was reduced to two years after she appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which ruled that she had not knowingly ingested the banned substance.

The former relay star had to overcome another challenge however, with the newly-formed Sport Integrity Australia challenging the CAS decision.

Fortunately, that challenge was swiftly thrown out, paving the way for her return to the pool.

The Queensland State Championship begin this Saturday, with Jack's first swim to come in Monday's 100m freestyle heats.

Jack took to her Instagram to thank her supporters ahead of her long-awaited return to competition.

“One week till 2021 Qld States begin!” Jack wrote.

“Cannot wait to be racing again in my signature white suit.

“Massive thank you to everyone who had supported me to get to this point once again.”

Jack took to Instagram earlier this year following CAS' rejection of the Sports Integrity Australia.

Promising to one day reveal more information about the saga, Jack nevertheless said her 'nightmare is over'.

"After a 2 year and 3 month battle, I have finally received my final decision that my appeal case has been dismissed by the Court of Arbitration," Jack said.

"I am now free to do what I love with no restrictions and am so overwhelmed with joy.

"I am now going to take some time to myself to cherish this moment and reflect on what I have endured. The nightmare is finally over."

Shayna Jack reveals devastating toll of doping saga

In September, Jack was cleared to return to the pool after an appeal seeking to increase her doping ban was dismissed.

In an interview with The Courier Mail's QWeekend magazine, the swimmer has poured her heart out about the devastating toll the scandal has taken on her.

The 22-year-old said she felt like she being let down by the sport she loved and ostracised for something she's consistently pleaded innocent to.

Jack said she felt like she was "shunned" and "worthless" after having to train alone during her ban, leaving the pool before other swimmers showed up.

The swimmer admitted that she tried to avoid all the negative press about her but had to contend with messages on social media labelling her a drug cheat and calling for her to take her own life.

In a heartbreaking admission, the 22-year-old said she did contemplate taking her own life, before seeking professional help.

“I don’t want to hide anything and I guess I want people to understand that I did the right thing by getting help when I did, in case someone reads this and is thinking that maybe they might not want to be around anymore, because, aah, I didn’t,” she told News Corp.

“So I no longer wanted to be around, because I didn’t see a purpose in my life anymore. I’d spent my whole life thinking swimming was the best sport in the world, the most amazing sport, that it would do everything to support me, but I was very wrong.

“In no circumstances did I feel my sport had protected me in any way or helped me, and it got to the point where I just did not want to be here.

“And then I looked at myself and I thought about my parents and everything they’d done to support me, and I looked at (her partner) Joel and my friends, and I thought ‘No, I cannot do that.’

“And I also thought this is not who I am. I am not somebody who gives up, so I need to get help. I went to my doctor and I said, ‘I’m not sleeping, I’m not eating, I’m having very dark thoughts.’’’

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