Australian relay team admit sleeping pill use
FORMER world swimming champions James Magnussen and Eamon Sullivan, and their 4x100-metre relay team-mates, face possible sanctions including a loss of funding from the Australian Olympic Committee after admitting taking the sleeping medication Stilnox during a “bonding session” ahead of last year’s London Games.
Magnussen, Sullivan, Tommaso D’Orsogna, Cameron McEvoy, James Roberts and Matthew Targett fronted a media conference yesterday with Swimming Australia president Barclay Nettlefold, and released a joint statement admitting they took Stilnox and engaged in disruptive behaviour including making prank calls during the Australian team’s pre-games camp in Manchester.
Roberts later said he did not take Stilnox, while Sullivan said the remaining members of the relay team took one tablet each. “In hindsight it was a ridiculous choice and ridiculous method ... but I don’t feel it affected my performance,” Magnussen said.
The medication is not a banned substance, but the AOC prohibited Australian athletes from using it ahead of the London Olympics after former swimmer Grant Hackett revealed he became dependent on sleeping pills during his career.
Sullivan said the Stilnox was obtained with a doctor’s prescription in Australia before the AOC ban.
AOC secretary general Craig Phillips said possible sanctions against the swimmers could include a withdrawal of their funding in the lead up to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
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