The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Thorpe not running scared of Americans

Sydney: Ian Thorpe did not pull out of the Duel in the Pool showdown with the United States because he was scared of racing the Americans, his manager Dave Flaskas said on Sunday.

There have been accusations that absent Australian swimmers including Thorpe, Leisel Jones and Geoff Huegill withdrew from the Indianapolis meet on Sunday because they were scared of being beaten by the Americans.

Flaskas said he was angered by claims of Thorpe ducking the meet. “I’m pretty fired up about it,” Flaskas said. “Ian was a very, very sick boy. It was a pretty worrying time.”

Thorpe has been recovering from a bout of viral encephalitis in February which he has been told can recur.

He decided to take two weeks off after last month’s national swimming championships here before starting his preparations for the Barcelona world titles in July to give his body time to recuperate.

Flaskas said Thorpe would undergo blood tests early next week to ensure there were no further traces of the virus left in his system.

“For anyone to suggest he’s running scared, it’s quite insulting,” Flaskas said. “Ian loves the challenge of racing. He definitely has no fear of racing the Americans.

“The fact that Ian won’t be swimming the relays probably has the Americans feeling safe to come out from under the bed for a change given the way he’s terrorised them in that final leg in the past.”

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