Olympics: Fina bans seven Russian swimmers from Rio over doping

A 2015 photo shows Russian gold-medal winner Yuliya Efimova posing at the Fina World Championships in Kazan.
A 2015 photo shows Russian gold-medal winner Yuliya Efimova posing at the Fina World Championships in Kazan.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS, France (AFP/REUTERS) - Swimming's world governing body on Monday moved swiftly to ban seven Russians from competing at next month's Rio Olympics in the fall-out from Russia's rampant state-run doping.

FINA was the first sport to impose bans in light of Sunday's IOC decision, which ruled against a blanket ban on all Russian competitors in Rio, instead leaving it up to individual sports federations to decide whether to accept Russians.

Vladimir Morozov and Nikita Lobintsev, both 4x100m freestyle bronze-medal winners with the Russian team at the 2012 Olympics, and Yulia Efimova, another 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, were among the seven banned.

Efimova later said she would appeal. “We’ve taken the decision to appeal to CAS. The opponent will be the International Olympic Committee, FINA and the Russian Olympic Committee,” Efimova’s agent Andrei Mitkov told R-Sport.

"FINA acknowledges and supports the IOC's position in respect of the participation of clean Russian athletes to the Olympic Games in Rio," a statement said, referring also to a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report issued last week that laid bare Russian state-run doping.

"The WADA Independent Person ("McLaren") report has shown that anti-doping rules... and the WADA Code were not correctly implemented in Russia," it added.

"The exact implication for the Russian Swimming Federation is still to be clarified. For this purpose, the matter has been forwarded to an ad hoc commission, which will have to investigate."

In the meantime, FINA declared the seven "not eligible" for Rio, which begins on Aug 5.

The other swimmers listed were: Mikhail Dovgalyuk, Natalia Lovtcova, Anastasia Krapivina and Daria Ustinova.

Efimova had been provisionally suspended by FINA in March after testing positive for the banned drug meldonium, which has been prohibited since January.

FINA lifted Efimova’s suspension in May after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said that athletes could escape a ban because it does not know exactly how long it takes for meldonium to leave the body.

The 24-year-old is also four-time world champion in the breaststroke.

FINA said it would also retest all the samples of Russian athletes collected at the Kazan 2015 World Championships.

"There is no indication in the IP report that athletes of Russian Synchronised Swimming Federation, Russian Diving Federation and Russian Water Polo would be implicated," FINA added.