Neethling dismiss ex's drug claims

2012-04-11 00:00

THE American Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard (pictured) has alleged that her former boyfriend, SA swimming star Ryk Neethling, was the reason she cut herself.

She says in her autobiography In the Water They Can’t See You Cry, published in the U.S. last week, that he was jealous of her success and that they only really got along when she was under the influence of drugs. Neethling said yesterday he was surprised by Beard’s claims. She describes a two-month visit to his family in South Africa during which she claims the drugs ecstasy, cocaine and acid were used.

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.”

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