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Ryk Neethling dismisses drug claims

2012-04-11 07:12
Johannesburg - American Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard has alleged that she and her former boyfriend, SA swimming star Ryk Neethling, only got along when she was under the influence of drugs.

She says in her autobiography, In the Water They Can't See You Cry, published in the US recently, that he was jealous of her success.

Neethling said on Tuesday he was surprised by Beard's claims.

In the book she describes a two month-long visit to Neethling's family in South Africa during which time she and Neethling took ecstasy, cocaine and acid.

Neethling said the insinuations about drug use were unfounded, pointing out that he passed every one of almost 200 drug tests during his competitive career.

Dr Shuaib Manjra, chair of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) medical commission, said: "Ryk has never tested positive for banned substances. Sascoc will therefore not investigate."

Stormy relationship

Neethling and Beard met while they were studying in Tucson, Arizona, in 1999. Their relationship ended after the 2004 Athens Olympics.

She described fights during which the pair screamed at each other, and said she started cutting herself as a calming mechanism.

Neethling declined to respond to her claims. He also did not answer any direct questions about whether he has used drugs in the past.

In his own 2008 autobiography, Chasing the Dream, he described the relationship as stormy.

Manjra said that an athlete at the Olympic Games could use drugs, but it is unlikely, because they could be tested without warning.

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