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SWIMMING De Bruin appeals against doping ban.

Irish triple Olympic gold medallist Michelle de Bruin has appealed against the four-year ban imposed on her by swimming's world governing body FINA after it found her guilty of manipulating a doping test.

De Bruin, formerly Michelle Smith, filed the appeal with the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday and could be swimming competitively by Christmas if her appeal is successful.

CAS spokesman Matthieu Reeb said the Swiss-based international court would most likely be de Bruin's final opportunity for appeal.

"The first step is an exchange of written statements between the two parties, and then we set a date for an arbitration hearing in Lausanne," he said.

Reeb said it was CAS policy to settle disputes within four months of the date that the relevant sporting body handed down its original decision against an athlete.

He said de Bruin and FINA could each choose one arbitrator from a list of 150 sports law and arbitration experts, and CAS would appoint a president to head a three-person panel to hear de Bruin's appeal.

A FINA doping panel a month ago found her guilty of tampering with an out-oompetition urine test taken at her home in Kilkenny in January. The panel said the sample contained a large quantity of alcohol, probably whiskey.

The ban included the Sydney 2000 Olympics and the 2001 World Championships, in effect ending the 28-year-old swimmer's career.

"I am fighting for my reputation and for my right to go to Sydney," de Bruin said after the FINA ban was handed down.

"I know I have never done anything in the past to put myself or my family or my country to shame. I am determined to follow this through to the end. I look forward to doing my country proud again."
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 5, 1998
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