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Kiwi swimmer in drink row defended by father


Wellington : New Zealand swimmer Daniel Bell, sent home from the Commonwealth Games for having beer, has been defended by his father as a focused young man, a media report said Saturday.

Bell won silver in the men’s 100m backstroke as part of a successful run by the New Zealand swimming team, which won six medals at the Delhi Games, New Zealand Herald reported.

His father Murray Bell said swimming at the top level had been his son’s dream since he was nine years old, and he was fully committed to it. “He lives for it. It’s like a full-time job.

“I don’t have a clue what he can achieve. If he puts his mind to the next Olympics and goes for a gold medal, he will do his utmost to get there.”

Swimming New Zealand chief executive Mike Byrne said Bell had broken the team’s zero-tolerance-of-alcohol policy by having beer after his race.

He acknowledged Bell had alcohol issues which needed to be addressed.

It is the third time in the past two years that Bell has been involved in an alcohol-related incident while overseas with a New Zealand team.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, three team mates were expelled after taking a photo of a drunk Bell sitting on the toilet at a social function.

Last year, Bell was admitted to hospital in Rome for excessive alcohol intake after the world championships.