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Verdicts Due On Aussie Sprinters

Apr 18, 2013  - Craig Lord

The six Australian men at at the heart of Olympic team woe last year are expected to escape suspension when Swimming Australia's integrity panel reports its findings tomorrow, The Australian reports.

Eamon Sullivan, Matt Targett, James Magnussen, Cameron McEvoy and Tommaso D'Orsogna admitted in February that they took the sleep aid Stilnox during a pre-London 2012 camp. The substance was banned by the Australian Olympic Committee in the lead-up to the Games over dependency fears.

James Roberts, No2 in the solo 100m free, relay man and down on best in London, has denied taking Stilnox but was involved in the door-knocking that disturbed his teammates.

Only some of the relay swimmers were interviewed in person by the integrity panel, while others submitted written statements, Nicole Jeffrey reports.

Financial penalties and even warnings in the form of suspended bans are expected to be announced tomorrow but few anticipate direct suspension of swimmers die to race at Australia's world-championship trials in Adelaide next week.

The news tomorrow will coincide with a report by journalist Todd Balym that video evidence of Australian swimmers taking Stilnox on a chartered flight home from the Games in London has come to light. Balym reports: "It is believed the men's relay team received letters from SA on Wednesday, detailing punishments of a fine plus a six-month suspended sentence, however one swimmer is allegedly refusing to accept the arrangement, upset at a clause relating to 'misbehaviour'."

He adds: "News Limited has been told by three different sources that video recorded on a mobile phone on the Olympic team's flight to Sydney showed a swimmer handing a Stilnox tablet to a team member."

The report also notes that James Roberts was not interviewed in the inquiry process, Balym concluding: "The failure to even interview Roberts is at odds with [Barclay] Nettlefold's statement that the panel would thoroughly address every rumour." Nettlefold is the president of Swimming Australia.