(Reuters) – Swimming authorities need to increase the number of doping tests to preserve the sport’s credibility and stop fans turning away according to Britain’s triple world champion and double world record holder Adam Peaty.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is investigating allegations of Russian state doping and an alleged cover up of positive tests in China that have rocked the sport.
China, who issued warning penalties to two swimmers on Monday who failed tests, and Russia have denied cover up claims.
Peaty, the 50 and 100 metre breaststroke world record holder who won three golds at last year’s world championships in Russia, said testing needed to be weekly to prove the sport was clean.
“I know testing week-on-week is expensive, but what is more expensive is swimmers coming out as cheats and then people not watching,” he was quoted as saying by British media. “I’ve just been tested three times in the past few weeks and that’s how it should be.
“I hope they catch the cheats before the Olympics because it’s going to ruin the sport otherwise. Olympic champions shouldn’t be someone who has cheated to get there.”
The 21-year-old, preparing for Olympic trials next month, said he could become a victim of association if he was successful at the Aug. 5-21 Rio de Janeiro Games.
“It’s ruining the reputation of all sports,” he said. “If it happens any more people are going to be looking on TV and saying, ‘he’s a cheat’.
“If I win Olympic gold and people look at me as a cheat because I’ve won, it’s hugely disrespectful.”
Russian sport was thrown into turmoil last year when a WADA report exposed endemic cheating and corruption in Russian athletics, resulting in the country being suspended from international competition.
Russia’s track and field team could miss the Olympics if the country fails to overturn the ban but Peaty was against blaming entire nations for the alleged swimming problems.
“Hopefully I’ll line up against Russians and they will be as hard working as I am – that’s the way it should be,” he said.
“If you line up against a doper, no matter from what country, it’s wrong. But I’m not going to blame a whole country. In my eyes that’s wrong because there are hard-working people.
“I’m just going to race and leave it to WADA and (International Swimming Federation) FINA to sort it out.”
(Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)