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Manaudou not eligible for Worlds, London instead? [Oct. 3rd, 2010|06:07 am]
ONTD Swimming



Laure Manaudou has returned to training with a view to racing at world titles in Shanghai next summer, the French federation said today. So goes the story. However, Manaudou will not be eligible to race in Shanghai: she would have needed to be available for out of competition anti-doping tests for a year before the event.

Manaudou announced her retirement in September 2009 and gave birth to a baby girl in April. She has been training in Marseille under coach Romain Barnier since early this week. Her partner Fred Bousquet also trains at Marseilles.

French swimming's national technical director (DTN) Christian Donze told AFP: "I learned a month ago that Laure wanted to return to swimming and to get back into the water for competition. It's good news."

London 2012 must be Manaudou's big aim, as her former coach and mentor to the 2004 400m free champion and world champion over 200m and 400m free in 2007, Philippe Lucas, noted: "Of course I knew (of her return); I was one of the first to know. If she does things right she will be ready in April 2012."

Manaudou, who will turn 24 on October 9, has not competed since December 2008. In the week of her birthday, Manaudou will leave Marseilles for Auburn, where she will be coached by Australian Brett Hawke.

Agencies reported: "Should Manaudou wish to compete in July's world championships, she will need to be ready for the French championships in Strasbourg from March 23-27."

Manaudou cannot race in Shanghai, under international anti-doping rules that make the positions of comeback swimmers clear. FINA Rule DC 5.5.2 states: "A competitor who has given notice of retirement to FINA may not resume competing unless he or she notifies FINA in writing at least nine months before he or she expects to return to competition and is available for out-of-competition testing at any time during the period before actual return to competition".

That nine-month period includes all events which serve as qualification for a FINA event. March trials in France will come too soon. The case echoes that of Libby Trickett in Australia, who will also have to wait until London 2012 to race at world level long-course for her nation on the biggest of occasions once more.