Lance Armstrong pulls out of swim meet

LANCE Armstrong looks set to abandon his plans to return to competitive sport this week after swimming’s world governing body objected to his participation in an event in his home town of Austin.

The disgraced American cyclist, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after being part of a doping scandal, had been entered for the US Masters South Central Zone Swimming Championships at the University of Texas.

US Masters Swimming executive director Rob Butcher was not immediately available for comment last night, but reports claimed Armstrong had now withdrawn from the meeting.

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Although he is banned for life from all competitions that adhere to either the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) or World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) codes, it was thought the low-profile US Masters Swimming event fell outside those restrictions.

However, world governing body Fina yesterday released a statement making clear that the event remains under its jurisdiction and is therefore subject to the ban in place.

Armstrong was due to contest the 1,650-yard freestyle tonight, and was also pencilled in for freestyle races over 500 and 1,000 yards.