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Cseh Laments Lack Of Duel Invitation

Nov 14, 2009  - Craig Lord

Hungary: László Cseh, who claimed three crowns at Hungarian nationals today (50 and 200 'fly in 23.29 and 1:52.44, and 100m medley in 53.38, the two shorter events producing national records), has expressed his disappointment that he was not invited to race in a European Select against the USA in Manchester next month. The Olympic triple silver medallist was speaking to the Hungarian media at nationals in Százhalombatta when the USA Vs a Europe Select of Britain, Germany and Italy cropped up. Cseh told reporters that he would have "loved to compete against the Americans in a competiton like this" and he hoped that "in the future the really best Europeans swimmers will be invited to this event." Talks between LEN, the European body, and USA Swimming did not result in any agreements, with European calendar clashes and the varying programmes of a large number of nations among the key obstacles to progress. In the end, the three nations that will be in Manchester next month, plus France and Russia, attempted to organise their own clash with the US. For different reasons, France and Russia could not see the journey through this time round.

Meantime, back at Hungarian nationals, Daniel Gyurta, 20 and an Olympic silver medallist at 15 in Athens 2004, stole some of Cseh's thunder when he clocked 57.39, just outside European record pace,  in the 100m breaststroke. He was back in his usual arena X-Glide, albeit borrowed from a teammate, after some reports in Hungary said that the Jaked01 suit he had worn the day before popped just before his race, while others suggested that he had never worn a Jaked01 but that his popped suit was one of another brand. Gyurta is starting to step up in sprint distances and said in Hungary that he would like to challenge the new spanish European record holder, 20-year-old Melquiades Alvarez (who clocked a 2:02.67 win at the Berlin world cup today, stepping up from a best of 2:14.15 two seasons ago). The two men have never raced.

The return to the race pool of Éva Risztov, after a gap of more than three years, produced a bronze medal in the 800m freestyle, her time 8:48.58. The national title went to junior Bogi Kapás in 8:27.40. (Thanks to Hungarian journalist Zoltan Orlay for helping with this report).

Hong Kong: A member of the Hong Kong swimming team bound for the East Asian Games has tested positive for steroids. Junior Johnny Lau Chun-leung has been served a two-year ban after a hearing by the Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association (HKASA) and will now not compete at the Games. The 17-year-old schoolboy was found to have anabolic-androgenic steroids in a urine sample he produced at the Hong Kong International Open Championships last September. His ban is effective until October 2011. The HKASA did not give details of the circumstances in which the steroids came to be in his system. "He has to take full responsibility for this," said David Chiu Chin-hung, HKASA assistant honorary secretary. Lau is a Hong Kong 15-17 age group record holder in the 800m free and races for Kwan Hung Swimming Club, run by his father, Lau Chi-hung. Lau was a random selection for in-competition testing at the meet back in September. He clocked 4:13.68 in the 400m free.  The next question is: who gave a 17-year-old his steroids? Who supplied them, who administered them and are the authorities in Hong Kong pursuing those lines of questioning? The FINA rule book makes clear provision for imposing penalties on doctors, coaches or others for any part they may have played in the doping of athletes. 

The HK federation told local media: "We have imposed a two-year suspension on the swimmer after consultations with Fina, the world governing body. This is a very serious case even though this is his first offence. We feel extremely sorry about the case as this is the first time a Hong Kong swimmer has been caught for doping. But we also hope he learns from it and will not commit the same mistake in future. At the same time, we will also strengthen our education programmes for swimmers as it is very easy for them to access banned substances these days." HK swimming clubs have been informed of the case so that educational messages can be circulated to athletes.

USA: Thiago Pereira, of Brazil, and Olympic 200m breaststroke champion from the US,  Rebecca Soni (Plainsboro, N.J.), each won two events  on the second night of the Minneapolis Grand Prix. Soni won the women’s 400-yard medley in 4:14.41 and set the meet record in the women’s 200y breaststroke in 2:07.68. Pereira set the meet record in the men’s 400y IM in 3:43.72 and won the men’s 200y breast in 1:56.44. Soni’s victories added to her tally of top-three finishes: she won 100y breaststroke and took second in the 200y medley on Friday.