Lance Armstrong pulls out of Masters Swimming Championships in Texas

Armstrong forced into U-turn on competition return after FINA chiefs raise objections to drug cheat's participation at Masters Swimming Championships

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

06:53 GMT, 4 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

05:10 GMT, 5 April 2013

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has decided against making a return to competitive sport as a swimmer this weekend.

Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after being part of a doping scandal, had been entered for the Masters South Central Zone Swimming Championships which takes place at the University of Texas.

The event is hosted by the university's Longhorn Aquatics club, whose director Ann Nellis told Press Association Sport: 'Longhorn Aquatics and the Jamail Texas Swimming Center are hosting the US Masters South Central Zone Championships.

Water performance: Lance Armstrong will not now return to competitive sport this weekend as a swimmer

Water performance: Lance Armstrong will not now return to competitive sport this weekend as a swimmer

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong

'Lance Armstrong, a member of the
West Hills Athletic Club, registered to participate in that event and
was accepted in accordance with US Masters Swimming policy.

'Today we were notified that Mr
Armstrong will not be competing, following a request from the
International Swimming Federation (FINA) to the US Masters Swimming
organisation that his entry not be accepted.'

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
today released a statement making clear that the event remains under its
jurisdiction and is therefore subject to the ban in place.

FINA said: 'Following reports on the
media referring the participation of Mr Lance Armstrong in the Masters
South Central Zone Swimming Championships in Texas (USA), FINA would
like to clarify that: 1. This national competition is under the
jurisdiction of the US Masters Swimming; 2. FINA Rule DC 15.1 states:
'Subject to the right to appeal provided in DC 13, the testing,
therapeutic use exemptions and hearing results or other final
adjudications of any signatory to the code which are consistent with the
code and are within the signatory's authority, shall be recognised and
respected by FINA and its member federations.(…)'.

'Therefore, FINA wrote a letter to
the US Masters Swimming (with copy to US Aquatic Sports and USA
Swimming) requesting not to accept the entry of Mr Lance Armstrong in
the above mentioned competition.'

Disgraced: Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour titles after coming clean about doping

Disgraced: Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour titles after coming clean about doping

Disgraced: Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour titles after coming clean about doping

Armstrong, who came clean on his
doping past in a television interview with Oprah Winfrey in January, was
due to contest the 1,650-yard freestyle tomorrow night, and was also
pencilled in for freestyle races over 500 and 1,000 yards.

Armstrong was billed to compete in
freestyle races over 500 yards, 1,000 yards and 1,650 yards at the event
held in his home city of Austin.

The
championships are open to all ages but most competitors are veteran
swimmers. Armstrong, aged 41, would have been racing against swimmers mostly
older than he is.

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