SWIMNEWS ONLINE: May 1996 Magazine Articles

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Anita Lonsbrough

"Unfortunately, we are still working to the old rules," is a horrendous admission by anyone, but when it is said by Jean Paul Clemençon, the Technical Director of the French Swimming Federation, it is beyond belief.

Because Denis Pankratov was not drug tested following his world record breaking swims in the 100 and 200 butterfly at the World Cup Meet in Paris on February 3-4, FINA quite rightly declined to ratify them.

Clemençon also claims that they ran out of bottles, yet Pankratov broke a world record each day! But surely not only the French Federation but also the Russian delegation should have known the rules- mandatory drug test within 24 hours of the swim.

It was no suprise that Pankratov broke a world record. They had been warned as he predicted before the competition that he would attempt the 100 fly, adding it would not be gentlemanly to break Franck Esposito's 200 fly record in his own country. The story was carried in L'Equipe the French sports daily.

"It was very unlucky for Pankratov but I think he has the ability to put this straight in the future for himself!" was another statement by Clemençon. But surely this is not the point and who knows what is around the corner.

The swimmer could well have missed out on both the glory of adding two more world records to his growing list of achievements and financially, in this day when sponsors reward athletes for such accomplishments.

Paul Bush, secretary of the three-man committee of the World Cup series, said "It is very sad indeed for Pankratov. We must, in future, make sure that such a disgrace is never repeated. The host federation is responsible for providing suitable conditions. On this occasion it failed.

"When Jeff Rouse broke the 100 backstroke record at Sheffield, it was a genuine surprise but we made sure the right people and facilities were made available within 24 hours to have the swimmer tested. We reacted quickly. It was the only way, not just for the swimmer, but for the pride of having a world record set in a British pool."

Bush, the Director of Swimming for England, went on to say "The Pankratov fiasco is particularly rich coming from France, which has been absolutely dogmatic in it's pursuit of a British swimmer (Mark Foster) over a drug test taken last summer. If only they had been quite so determined to get things right in Paris... "

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