Young Hungarian star David Verraszto has drawn a 9-month ban from the Hungarian Swimming Federation, according to a release on the federation’s official website. They have, however, pushed the suspension off for two years so that Verraszto can compete in the Olympics (and presumably the World Championships in 2013) before serving the suspension in the relatively-quiet 2014 season.
In fact the suspension becomes relatively innocuous based on the timing. He will probably miss the 2014 European Championships in Berlin (which are on par with the Pan Pac or Asian Games), but should return in plenty of time for his preferred short course World Championships (the date of that event hasn’t been finalized as they await bids for a new host, but it’s typically at year’s-end).
The suspension came after an altercation on the final day of the World Short Course Championships in Poland, when 23-year oldVerraszto hit teammate Gergely Gyurta in a restaurant after the meet. The fight allegedly surrounded Gyurta sending a text to Verraszto’s ex-girlfriend Sarah Joó, who is also on the Hungarian National Team.
The impeding dust-up injured Verraszto, which held him out of the Duel in the Pool that he was otherwise slated to participate in.
Also as part of his punishment, Verraszto will have to pay 500,000 Hungarian Forints if he wishes to travel abroad between now and the Olympics (which converts to about $2,200 USD).
The two men have settled their personal issue privately, and it appears as though there will be no legal action at this point.
Verraszto is a probable finalist in his best event, the 400 IM, at the World Championships. He was the 2010 European silver medalist in the race long course and gold medalist that same year in short course. In 2011, he ranked 5th in the world in the 400 IM (4:11.71) and 11th in the 200 IM (1:58.69).
The obvious comparison here is to the situation in Australia where Nick D’Arcy punched fellow swimmer Simon Cowley in a post-Olympic Trials bar brawl in 2008; though obviously this fight had much less devastating results. D’Arcy’s punishment included being dropped from the 2008 Olympic Team and the 2009 World Championship Team, in addition to legal charges.