Games tilt in doubt for Groves

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT - EMMA GREEN­WOOD

AUS­TRALIA could be with­out Olympic medal­list Made­line Groves at the Com­mon­wealth Games af­ter a se­ries of set­backs over the past year.

Groves, 22, suc­cess­fully fought a po­ten­tial ban from swim­ming world body FINA, who had moved to sanc­tion the Rio sil­ver medal­list af­ter she missed three drug tests.

She was fac­ing a one-year ban for miss­ing three tests af­ter al­legedly fail­ing to up­date her “where­abouts” but her lawyer suc­cess­fully ar­gued the va­lid­ity of the third strike, where drug testers failed to find her at San Diego Uni­ver­sity.

But Groves has had fur­ther pit­falls on the road to the Gold Coast Games, in­clud­ing surgery late last year to treat en­dometrio­sis.

She has only re­cently re­turned to train­ing with coach Michael Bohl on the Gold Coast and while she’s en­tered events at the Games tri­als in three weeks’ time, the pair are yet to de­cide whether she will com­pete.

“She’s had a cou­ple of set­backs with the health is­sues on the back of the drugs thing last year,” Bohl said.

While she would be an as­set to Aus­tralia in the pool, Bohl said en­sur­ing Groves re­mained in the sport was more im­por­tant than push­ing her to com­pete at the Com­mon­wealth Games if she was not ready.

“We don’t want to lose some­one of her abil­ity three years out from Tokyo,” he said.

“The first pri­or­ity is her health. Once that’s right, we can man­age how to train at a good level. We don’t want to lose an ath­lete of that cal­i­bre.”

PIT­FALLS: Made­line Groves with her Rio sil­ver medal.

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