AUSTRALIA’S would-be London Olympian Bianca Elmir, suspended for a positive drug test, has vowed to box on after returning from hiatus in Thailand to prepare for a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing.
The drug ban to the nation’s most outstanding female boxer was an embarrassment to Boxing Australia and the Australian Olympic Committee before women make their historic Games debut in the sport this July.
For Elmir, the three-time national champion in the 51-kilogram division who has claimed she took a banned diuretic to reduce swelling around her ankles on a flight from Ireland before the national championships in February, the ordeal has resulted in a broken heart. She has resolved to mount a campaign for the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Finding refuge abroad immediately after Boxing Australia withdrew her from last month’s world titles – a compulsory Olympic qualification event – Elmir returned to her Canberra home on Sunday. Confronted by media upon landing, the 30-year-old has retreated again but issued a brief statement through her manager Alex Belperio before attending meetings with lawyers.
“I needed some space to gather my thoughts and rebuild my strength,” Elmir said after maintaining her boxing and kickboxing training in Thailand.
“I was completely thrown aback by the decision to not allow me to compete in the world championships and I felt really down – I had my heart broken so I needed somewhere neutral for some alone time and not to be interrogated by people.”
Elmir remains on provisional suspension, but her hopes to win a medal at the Olympics died when Boxing Australia withdrew her from competition on the eve of the world titles. Her CAS hearing is scheduled for July.
Elmir has not denied taking a substance containing furosemide and amiloride, which are on the World Anti-Doping Authority’s banned list. They can be used as masking agents and accelerate weight loss. Belperio said it was ”an honest mistake” due to a lack of education about banned substances.
“This has given me a lot of perspective and I am still hurt and disappointed, and I think I will have these feelings for a while,” Elmir said.
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