Scott: I want to be re­mem­bered for more than dop­ing protest

Evening Times - - LAST WORD - Su­san Egel­staff

DUN­CAN SCOTT may have added sig­nif­i­cantly to his medal haul dur­ing the course of 2019, but his ac­tions out of the pool caused just as many head­lines as his sil­ver­ware.

It would though, says Scott, be “gut­ting” if, come the end of his ca­reer, he is re­mem­bered more for his ex­ploits out of the wa­ter than in.

In July, at the World Cham­pi­onships in South Korea, Scott won bronze in the 200m freestyle be­hind gold medal­list, Sun Yang.

Dur­ing the medal cer­e­mony. Scott, who will com­pete in the Euro­pean Short-Course Cham­pi­onships which be­gin in Glas­gow on Wed­nes­day, re­fused to pose for pho­to­graphs or shake hands with the Chi­nese swim­mer, who served a three-month dop­ing sus­pen­sion in 2014, as well as be­ing in the midst of an anti-dop­ing case in which he smashed up vials of blood dur­ing an out-of-com­pe­ti­tion test last year be­fore claim­ing his testers were not able to pro­vide iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, which led to his ac­tions.

It was a brave move from Scott, and an ad­mirable one, with the ma­jor­ity of his fel­low swim­mers sup­port­ing his protest.

But the 22-year-old ad­mits that for all the plaudits he re­ceived for his move, his ac­tions rarely cross his mind. And he re­veals that come the end of his ca­reer, if his achieve­ments in the pool do not over­shadow his dop­ing protest this sum­mer, he will be hugely dis­ap­pointed.

“I would like to think that, from what I have achieved so far, there are par­tic­u­lar high­lights that out­weigh what hap­pened on the podium,” Scott says of his South Korean ex­ploits.

“I am only 22 – if that is the thing that de­fines my ca­reer, I would be gut­ted. I don’t think it is, though, and I’d like to think that, if I re­tired to­day, there would be many things that are spo­ken about other than just that mo­ment.

“It might have helped other things within the sport, but I would like to think that many of the things I have done over­ride it.”

There was the threat of reper­cus­sions for Scott from the sport’s gov­ern­ing body, FINA, for his World Cham­pi­onship protest how­ever noth­ing ma­te­ri­alised, but there was con­sid­er­able abuse di­rected at him dur­ing the Cham­pi­onships, where he went on to win gold in the 4x100m med­ley re­lay.

Scott ad­mits it is im­pos­si­ble for him to know whether his protest has had any im­pact higher up the chain of com­mand in the sport and while his pri­mary fo­cus is be­com­ing the best swim­mer he can pos­si­bly be, he is be­com­ing more and more aware of the plat­form he has to in­flu­ence the next gen­er­a­tion of swim­mers com­ing through.

“I have tun­nel vi­sion in terms of what I want to achieve in the sport and it has taken me a cou­ple of years to re­alise the im­pact I can have on oth­ers,” the Univer­sity of Stir­ling swim­mer said.

“It is prob­a­bly some­thing I have shied away from, but I have re­alised I can help the next gen­er­a­tion. If I like it or not, I can in­spire other ath­letes through what I have done.”

Scott is in ex­cel­lent form ahead of next week’s Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships. Last week­end, he com­peted in his first In­ter­na­tional Swim­ming League (ISL) meet, win­ning the 200m in­di­vid­ual med­ley. His next ap­pear­ance in the ISL is due to be in Las Ve­gas early next year and as part of the Lon­don Roar team, he is team-mates with Olympic cham­pion, Adam Peaty.

The English­man has dom­i­nated the breast­stroke sprints in re­cent years and Scott ad­mits see­ing some­one of his class up close, and know­ing he’s a clean ath­lete, gives him con­fi­dence that what­ever sub­stance his op­po­nents may be tak­ing, they can still be beaten.

“Look at Peaty. The guy is a ma­chine. And I know for a fact he has never taken any­thing,” said Scott.

“The priv­i­lege of train­ing with the ath­letes I do is that it [dop­ing] is out of our minds. Our job is to make our­selves as good as pos­si­ble, so that be­comes ir­rel­e­vant – be­cause we are bet­ter than them any­way.”

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