Australian Olympic medallist on drugs possession charge


MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian former Olympic swimmer Geoff Huegill has been charged with drug possession by police in Sydney after being arrested at a horse racing meeting at the weekend.

Huegill, who won a medley relay silver and a 100 metres butterfly bronze for Australia at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, was charged with his wife on Saturday and will appear at a Sydney court next month.

"Police were patrolling Randwick racecourse as part of their general duties when they were directed to a suite in the grandstand by security personnel," a police spokeswoman said.

"Police spoke to a 35-year-old old man and his 30-year-old wife, who were alleged to be in possession of a small quantity of white powder, believed to be cocaine."

Huegill posted links on his Twitter account on Saturday to pictures of himself and his wife beaming in a room at the race meeting while drinking champagne.

"Enjoying the day with @mshuegill in the Moët suites at Randwick today," a caption read.

Huegill's lawyer Paul Hunt confirmed the couple were issued with a court notice.

"As the matter is not yet resolved, my clients do not intend to make any further comment at this point in time," he said in a statement.

A former 50m butterfly world record holder, Huegill retired from the pool after the 2004 Athens Olympics and battled depression, weight and alcohol problems before making a highly publicised comeback in 2008.

He won golds at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and took a world championship bronze in Shanghai the following year before quitting the pool again after failing to qualify for the 2012 London Games.

Huegill's drugs charge follows problems with fellow former Australian swimmers in Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett in recent months.

Five-time Olympic champion Thorpe was checked into a health clinic in February to treat depression after he was found disoriented and behaving oddly near a parked car in a Sydney suburb.

Triple Olympic champion Hackett flew to the United States later the same month to seek treatment for an addiction to a sleeping medication after he was photographed shirtless in the lobby of a Melbourne casino.

(Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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