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Drugs are still a big issue in swimming, admits Michael Jamieson

MICHAEL JAMIESON, who will lead the charge for Scottish medals in his native Glasgow on Thursday, has admitted he cannot say "with 100% certainty" that the Commonwealth Games will not be blighted by doping controversy.

Michael Jamieson has encouraged discussion of doping ahead of the Commonwealth Games
Michael Jamieson has encouraged discussion of doping ahead of the Commonwealth Games

The Olympic silver medallist, who will compete in the 100 metres and 200m breaststroke events at Tollcross International Swimming Centre, has become increasingly outspoken on the issue of doping and said last night it was "an aspect that not enough athletes are willing to talk about".

The Glaswegian regularly takes to his Twitter account to outline his concerns and has never shied away from publicly discussing the scourge of performance-enhancing drugs.

Jamieson believes it would be "naive" to think only clean athletes will be competing at these Games. "I don't think anyone can [say 100% that those around him are clean]," he said. "In my opinion if an athlete says 'yes' to that question they're maybe a little bit naive about it.

"Maybe naive is the wrong word but I feel like I've read up on it and I know bits and pieces about it - and I don't think I can say that with 100% certainty of any event.

"I'm not going to say that's the case here but across all sports in any event I don't think athletes can say with 100% certainty any more that everyone in their event is clean.

"I think it's an issue in sport full stop. Everyone's entitled to their own view, but I think so many people avoid talking about it and I don't know why because it's an issue that affects all sports.

"I don't know what the count is for Russia but it's something like 16 swimmers serving bans. That speaks for itself. It's unfortunately part and parcel of sport now and I think I'm one of the few people who tends to try and make the people aware of it because I'm not uncomfortable about speaking about it. I don't think people should avoid talking about it.

"I don't think swimming is at that level yet [where doping was so rife that he would consider walking away from it], although some other sports may be. It's not something that's in my mind constantly.

"When I leave this room I won't go away thinking: 'I hope everyone in my race is clean.' It's not something that's at the forefront of my mind, it's just an underlying aspect that I think not enough athletes are willing to talk about."

Jamieson has been critical of Fina, the world swimming governing body, in the past but feels that WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) are doing all they can to reduce the problem of drugs in sport.

Speaking after visiting the Games Village for the first time yesterday, he said: "I'm being tested all the time. I have a whereabouts system where I have to let the testers know where I am every single day.

"I'm on there all the time trying to update it because any slip-ups can result in strikes [for missing a test]. Sometimes the public see strikes as missed tests because of something a bit sinister.

"That's something as an athlete you have to deal with because there have been people who have fallen foul of missing tests then they're branded cheats, which isn't the case. That's how thin that line is. I'll be tested before the race [in Glasgow] I think and definitely afterwards."

Jamieson, who will go to Las Vegas on holiday after the Games rather than compete in the European Championships in Berlin, revealed he would have liked to have been able to participate in Wednesday's opening ceremony at Parkhead - especially as he is a Celtic fan - but competing the next day made that impossible.

"I'm disappointed I'm not going to be there but I had the same in London [at the Olympics] when I was up on day one so I didn't go to the opening ceremony," said the 25-year-old. "But I went to the closing ceremony and it just made it a bit more exciting to be able to sample it. I'm looking forward to the closing ceremony here."

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