Sprinter Jessica Peris is back on track this year as part of the Athletics Australia extended squad who will be participating in the Nitro Series this coming February.
Sprinter Jessica Peris is back on track this year as part of the Athletics Australia extended squad who will be participating in the Nitro Series this coming February.

Olympic legend’s daughter in doping scandal

AUSTRALIAN athletics has been rocked by a drugs scandal with the daughter of Olympic gold medallist and former senator Nova Peris testing positive.

Sprinter Jessica Peris was forced to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games selection trials on the Gold Coast after a banned substance was detected in a sample taken by ASADA.

It's not known what substance is involved and confirmation is expected within days after testing of the B sample.

Peris, 27, had been on track to follow in her famous mother's footsteps after showing significant improvement over the summer.

Sprinter Jessica Peris on the track
Sprinter Jessica Peris on the track

She'd set new 100m and 200m personal bests on several occasions which not only put her in the frame for Commonwealth Games selection but also caught the attention of drug testers.

Last month Peris defeated rising star Riley Day - who won the sprint double at the trials this weekend - at the Glynis Nunn Shield in Queensland running 11.41 sec.

She last raced at the Summer Down Under Series in Canberra on January 20-21 where she finished second in the 100m and 200m.

In December she clocked a Commonwealth Games B-standard qualifying time of 23.31 sec in the 200m.

The Peris revelation comes just a fortnight after Australian marathoner Cassie Fien accepted a nine-month ban for taking the banned substance Higenamine.

The 32-year-old Fien, who represented Australia twice at the world half marathon championships, tested positive in an out of competition test in April, 2017.

Peris returned to the track after enduring a dark time following her messy relationship breakup with NRL star Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

Jessica Peris wins her 200m heat during the Australian Athletics Championships at Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Jessica Peris wins her 200m heat during the Australian Athletics Championships at Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Domestic violence charges were levelled against the former Sydney Roosters centre in 2016 but were dismissed in court with Peris slammed as an unreliable witness.

The pair had endured a tumultuous relationship for just over 12 months with Kenny-Dowall accused of kicking, hair pulling, headbutting, stalking and intimidation.

But all 11 charges were dismissed with Peris described by Magistrate Gregory Grogin as a "calculating, evasive" witness who had "intentionally framed" her answers.

She had previously quit athletics after struggling with expectations surrounding her mother who won Olympic gold in hockey and Commonwealth Games gold on the track.

Nova Peris was the first indigenous Australian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal as part of the Hockeyroos at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

She then switched sports and won gold in the 200m and 4x100m relay at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Nova Peris and Jessica Peris. Picture: Julie Kiriacoudis
Nova Peris and Jessica Peris. Picture: Julie Kiriacoudis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Sydney 2000 Olympics Peris made the semi-finals of the 400m and also ran in Australia's 4x400m relay team which finished fifth.

She was elected to the Australian Senate at the 2013 federal election, after then Prime Minister Julia Gillard named her as a "captain's pick". Her brief stay in politics ended in 2016.

Jessica's return to athletics started in 2015 when she went to America and trained with her mother's former coach Darrell Smith in Los Angeles.

She finished sixth in the 200m at the national championships in 2016 and a couple of months later was part of an Australian 4x100m relay team that chased an Olympic qualifying time in Japan.

Nova Peris won gold at Atlanta 1996
Nova Peris won gold at Atlanta 1996

In July she won the 200m/400m double at the Oceania Championships in Fiji and later that year was named as part of an extended squad for the Usain Bolt's revolutionary Nitro series.

By then she had moved back to live in Darwin and in December 2016 spoke about how she was now "living her dream" in athletics.

"It's pretty fulfilling to be able to do what I'm doing - being a young, indigenous, single mum - and I'm living my dreams," Peris told the NT News.

"I'm embracing every opportunity that comes my way and it's been a rollercoaster but I believe I'm a resilient person - knock me down and I'll get back up."

Peris has recently been working with Tony Fairweather, the former coach of two-time Stawell Gift winner Josh Ross, and his squad on the Gold Coast.

The Herald Sun does not allege that Fairweather had any knowledge of activities that led to Peris' positive A sample.

Nova Peris then moved into athletics
Nova Peris then moved into athletics

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