DOHA (AFP) – American great Ryan Lochte will bid along with other stars to give swimming a positive spin at this week’s World Short-Course (25m) Championships in Doha following an uncomfortable few weeks for the sport.
Last week it emerged that double Olympic and five-time world champion Sun Yang had failed a drugs test, which revealed the banned stimulant trimetazidine, back in May for which he received just a three-month ban.
There was also news of another Russian doping violation, months after sports minister Vitaly Mutko admitted the country was “on the brink” of being suspended from competition as the positive tests continue to mount.
In October world governing body FINA provoked a backlash when they awarded Russian president Vladimir Putin their highest honour – the FINA order – an act described by the German Bundestag as “tastelessly provocative”.
A proposal for the swimming finals at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro to be held late at night in order to satisfy television demands has also met with resistance.
Against this backdrop Olympic and world champions will take to the 25m pool at the Hamad Aquatic Centre from December 3-7.
Those competing include 11-time Olympic medallist Lochte and Olympic and world butterfly champion Chad le Clos as well as Florent Manaudou and Cesar Cielo, 2012 and 2008 Olympic 50m freestyle champions respectively.
Canadian Ryan Cochrane – runner-up behind Sun in the 1,500m freestyle at both the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships in Barcelona – will also be in Qatar.
Katinka Hosszu set five world records during the 2014 World Cup series, her Herculean programme earning the Hungarian the nickname of the ‘Iron Lady’.
She will be joined by – among others – double 2012 Olympic freestyle champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo along with triple European and double Commonwealth champion Fran Halsall, former Olympic title-holder Federica Pellegrini and double Olympic and world silver medallist Mireia Belmonte.
A swimmer who made a staggering breakthrough on to the international stage in 2014 was British breaststroker Adam Peaty.