Australian swimmer Isaac Cooper is “pretty low” after being banished from the Commonwealth Games but says he didn’t take a banned substance.
The Australian backstroke champion was sent home from a pre-Games swim camp in France this week for abusing a medication.
“My misuse of medication was not banned substances,” Cooper said in an Instagram post.
“It was ultimately my wellbeing and mental health that resulted in me going home.
“It was difficult to accept in myself that I needed to address my mental health but I believe that it is an ever present issue in all communities, including that of a professional athlete.
“I am grateful to Swimming Australia for helping to identify an issue and offering their support and resources to help me.”
Cooper was sent home from the Australian swim team’s camp in Chartres ahead of arriving in Birmingham this weekend for the Commonwealth Games starting July 28.
The 18-year-old had been favoured to win gold medals in the 50-metre and 100-metre backstroke events – he is the Commonwealth’s top-ranked swimmer in both events.
“I’ve had to undergo a lot of self-reflection and examination,” he wrote.
“The decision made to send me home was based on my behaviour and mental health and was made in my best interest and that of the team competing at the Commonwealth Games.”
The specific medication that Cooper misused has not been revealed but the swimmer said there were “two sides to the story”.
“More than anything I wish I could be there, racing with my team and cheering them on,” he wrote.
“The team means so much to me and I have made friends for life but the decision was not made in the interest of the next few weeks, rather the interest for the future of my swimming career.
“For the next few weeks I will be reflecting and resetting for the future.
“I will use this time of reflection to also examine the current issues.
“There are always two sides to a story and I shall continue to work positively and confidentially with Swimming Australia.”