Tokyo 2020: Duncan Scott giving no thought to anti-doping stance

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Team GB swimmer Scott made headlines in Gwangju when, after winning bronze in the 200 metres freestyle, he refused to share the podium with gold medal winner Sun Yang.

Sun, who previously served a three-month doping ban in 2014, was at the time subject to a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) case over a smashed vial during a drugs test. Last month CAS reduced an eight-year ban to four years backdated to May 2020, meaning he could potentially compete at the Paris Olympics in 2024.

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Following the podium snub, Sun reacted angrily to Scott and appeared to shout “you’re a loser, I’m a winner” at this rival.

Scott insists his actions at the time were not personal and merely a message at promoting a clean sport, while his focus in the coming month is purely on affecting his own performance.

“I don’t really know [if the situation has improved], obviously we’ve had COVID so there were no competitions in 2020,” Scott, who collected two golds and three silvers at the rescheduled European Championships in May, told a round-table of journalists.

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“I would say since then I can only really control the controllables. I know that’s so cliche but especially with COVID and with dates moving about it’s made me think even less about things I can’t influence.

“I can’t affect it so why should I bother about it? It’s not something I’ve thought about to be honest.

“I think then, doing it and making that stance was for a purpose of clean sport it was nothing personal against anyone. And I think that was seen in the right way, several people have made their voices heard for those reasons.

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“I think [fellow Team GB swimmer Adam] Peaty comes out and speaks about it well a lot, as a team-mate of his in different competitions I’ve got to back what he says and the way he puts it across I think is really well.”

Several athletes voiced concerns at reduced drug testing during the height of the coronavirus pandemic – which caused a postponement of the Games – last year, but Scott added: “I can’t control it, it’s not something I think about.

“If I perform at my best I’ll be there or thereabouts. I did some nice drops at the trials and for me I’ve really just got to focus on myself.

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“Swimming isn’t like many team sports, you can’t influence what someone does in the lane next to you, you’ve just got to focus on your own race.”

Last month, Scott swapped the swimming cap for a graduation cap after receiving a 2:1 in Business and Sports Studies at the University of Stirling.

Scott, who is dyslexic, said he may revisit his studies further down the line, but for now is focused on his goals in the pool.

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“Personally, I found it really challenging, as not much of a school person at all I found that really difficult so to be able to do a degree in itself and be offered a place was great, and I thought I may as well while I’m swimming,” he added.

“I think halfway through my second year I was like I need to try and sort something out with the uni I’m finding this really difficult to manage. And the uni were great, I did my first two years full-time, then split third and fourth year up.

“I would have actually finished in 2020 but decided to take January to June out, I was like the Olympics [are happening] I’ll take that out – never happened!

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“I did really enjoy it, I found it really challenging which I think potentially was a really good thing. Being dyslexic and not really enjoying school too much and being stuck in a classroom I’m really proud of the fact I was able to get a 2:1.

“It may be something I go back to and potentially do a Masters but I can’t see that for a while. I’d like to do the next cycle and just focus on swimming – there are a lot of meets next year, with all the governing bodies not really talking to each other you’ve got Europeans, commies [Commonwealth Games] and Worlds all next year, I was just delighted to finish it to be honest.”

Scott, who won two silver relay medals at Rio 2016, says he takes inspiration from some of Scotland’s finest competitors, such as cycling legend Chris Hoy and tennis great Andy Murray as he aims to earn more accolades in Tokyo.

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“I don’t really know them, I say I sort of still look up to many of them, I wouldn’t put myself in the same bracket at all,” he said.

“Personally, I used to look up a lot to – not that I don’t anymore it sounds bad – but Chris Hoy for example, and the way Murray conducts himself on and off the tennis court I think is phenomenal.

“I find it inspiring the way he still plays and people ask why he still competes and he says he just enjoys the hard work, that’s quite refreshing to hear.”

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