Swimming

'Mentally disturbed' Hackett found, wants to be left alone

Olympic swimming great Grant Hackett is "alive and sober", his father told media yesterday after he went missing following a family bust-up, sparking fears for his safety.

Hackett's father, Neville, said Australia's troubled former 1500 metres world-record holder, who was briefly detained this week after a domestic incident, was in contact with police.

"Police officers are happy he's alive and sober," Neville Hackett said, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

"He's told the police officers he just wants to hide from everybody."

Hackett's father raised the alarm earlier yesterday after his "mentally disturbed" son failed to turn up for appointments with a doctor and a lawyer.

The 36-year-old Australian had posted a picture on social media showing himself with a black eye, and accused his brother of beating him up.

"He's hiding from everybody, including us," Hackett's father said. "I think he's very, very embarrassed, but let's see how things go."

The double Olympic gold medallist was released without charge on Wednesday after his family called police following a reported bout of heavy drinking which led to "uncontrollable rage".

His brother, Craig, said the former swimmer had mental health problems and was no longer the person he once knew.

Yesterday, Hackett posted a picture of himself on Instagram showing a cut and blackened right eye, and dry blood on his nose.

"My brother comments to the media... but does anyone know he beat the s*** out of me?" Hackett wrote in the caption.

Hackett came out of six years of troubled retirement in 2014 in a bid to make the Rio Games last year, hoping to become the oldest Australian swimmer to qualify for an Olympics.

But he narrowly missed out on a berth and, after the Olympic trials in Adelaide last April, he hit the headlines again after a meltdown on a plane.

Hackett was accused of drunkenly squeezing the nipple of a fellow business-class passenger in an embarrassing incident which prompted him to vow to quit drinking.

"This is now a chronic problem... so, from a mental health perspective, I hope something can be done," Craig Hackett said on Wednesday.

"This is not Grant Hackett, this is a completely different person. I don't know this person, my mum and dad don't know this person.

"He's there in body, but he is not there in mind, in soul, or spirit."

Hackett mumbled a few words to reporters after his release, saying he was "not great" and "probably needed to" go into rehabilitation. - AFP

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