Swimming-Australia's Jack free to return after CAS dismisses appeal against reduced ban

(Reuters) - Australian swimmer Shayna Jack can return to the sport with immediate effect after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday dismissed the appeal against her reduced ban lodged by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and Sport Integrity Australia (SIA).

Jack, 22, was initially handed a four-year ban in 2019 after testing positive for banned anabolic agent ligandrol, only for it to be later reduced to two years. In December 2020, WADA and SIA appealed the leniency of the suspension.

"The majority of the Panel determined that while it disagreed with the reasoning set out in the Appealed Decision it nevertheless upheld its ultimate holding, for different grounds..." CAS said in a statement https://www.tas-cas.org/fileadmin/user_upload/CAS_Media_Release_7579_7580.pdf.

"The finding of an ADRV and the sanction of a two-year period of ineligibility, on the basis that Shayna Jack had, on the balance of probabilities, established that she did not intentionally or recklessly consume the prohibited substance and could therefore benefit from a reduction in the period of ineligibility from four years to two years."

Jack expressed relief at the decision, saying that her "nightmare" was over and that she would take some time off and reflect on what she had endured.

"After a 2 year and 3 month battle, I have finally received my final decision that my appeal case has been dismissed by the CAS... I am now free to do what I love with no restrictions and am so overwhelmed with joy," she wrote on Instagram.

Jack was a rising talent before her suspension, having helped her team win gold and set a world record in the women's 4x100 metres freestyle relay at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

She also won four relay medals at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest.

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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