Schoeman to swim at Commonwealth Games - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Schoeman to swim at Commonwealth Games

05/12/2005 11:06:11 PM Comments (0)

Superfish Ian Thorpe still must conquer speedster Roland Schoeman to win the 100m freestyle at next year's Commonwealth Games after the South African rejected a lucrative offer from Qatar.

Schoeman was the silver medallist in the two-lap event at the Athens Olympics ahead of the bronze medal-winning Thorpe and had been seriously considering changing his allegiance to the Gulf State.

The sprinter was reported to have been offered a deal of up to R20m ($A4.2m) for three years to swim for Qatar which is hosting the Asian Games in Doha next year.

The key member of South Africa's world record 4x100m freestyle team won the 50m freestyle and butterfly titles and collected another silver in the 100m freestyle at the Montreal world championships this year.

Schoeman and compatriot Ryk Neethling are both faster than Thorpe on paper but the five-time Olympic gold medallist has become more sprint-focused following his one-year break from competition.

"After serious and thorough consideration I have decided to stand by my initial decision not to swim for Qatar," said Schoeman through a statement read by Swimming SA (SSA) president Jace Naidoo in Johannesburg Australian time.

"I have given instructions that the negotiations following the second approach from Qatar to swim for them should not be pursued any further.

Naidoo praised Schoeman for his patriotism also giving an indication that Schoeman could possibly be the man to lead the South African swimming contingent to the Melbourne Games in March.

Throughout this entire saga, Roland has acted in forthright and honest manner and with integrity towards Swimming SA. For this he must be commended. We now look forward to building on the recent success of Athens 2004 and the world championships this year and preparing for Commonwealth Games," Naidoo said.

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