Swimming: Banned Phelps to return at French World Cup meet

Olympic legend Michael Phelps (above), banned for six months by USA Swimming for drink-driving, will return to competition at the French-leg of the Fina World Cup series next August. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Olympic legend Michael Phelps (above), banned for six months by USA Swimming for drink-driving, will return to competition at the French-leg of the Fina World Cup series next August. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

DOHA (AFP) - Olympic legend Michael Phelps, banned for six months by USA Swimming for drink-driving, will return to competition at the French-leg of the Fina World Cup series next August.

French swimming federation president Francis Luyce said that Phelps will compete in the short-course meet at Chartres-Paris on Aug 15-16.

Luyce said he had been informed of Phelps' participation by Dave Neilburger, American vice-president of world swimming body Fina, during the world short-course swimming championships currently underway in Doha.

Phelps, the 18-time Olympic swim champion, was suspended for six months by USA Swimming on Oct 6.

The punishments came days after Phelps was apprehended by police in his hometown of Baltimore and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, excessive speed and crossing the centre line while driving inside a tunnel.

The 29-year-old retired after the 2012 London Olympics with a record 22 Olympic medals, but launched a comeback earlier this year.

He won three gold medals at the Pan-Pacific Championships in late August in Australia to cement his place on the world championship team.

Phelps will still be allowed to train with his club, but cannot compete in USA Swimming-sanctioned competitions through March 6, 2015.

In agreement with the federation, Phelps will not represent the United States at the World Championships on Aug 2-9 in Kazan, Russia.

It will be the first time that Chartres, 90km south-west of the French capital, will host an event in the World Cup series.