Swimming: Fina maintains Efimova ban

Russia's Yuliya Efimova smiling after winning the women's 100m breaststroke swimming event at the 2015 Fina World Championships in Kazan, on August 4, 2015.
Russia's Yuliya Efimova smiling after winning the women's 100m breaststroke swimming event at the 2015 Fina World Championships in Kazan, on August 4, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova's bid to have her provisional suspension lifted has been rejected by the International Swimming Federation (Fina).

She was handed a provisional ban in March after testing positive for the banned drug meldonium but had asked Fina to lift the ban so that she could compete at Russia's Olympic trials starting in Moscow on Saturday.

But Fina said in a statement early on Saturday that Efimova will not be allowed to return to competition until after her hearing.

"Considering the provisional suspension imposed by Fina to swimmer Yulia Efimova (Rus) and the recent Wada recommendations on the use of meldonium, the Fina Doping Panel decided to maintain the provisional suspension of this athlete, until a hearing of Ms Efimova is held by the Fina Doping Panel," a statement from Fina read.

"Fina will not make any further comments on this case, until a final decision is made by the Fina Doping Panel."

The 24-year-old, who won a bronze medal in the 200 metres breaststroke at the 2012 London Games, conceded she had taken meldonium for medical reasons before the World Anti-Doping Agency's (Wada) ban on the drug came into effect on Jan 1.

Wada said this week that athletes could escape a ban for taking meldonium because it does not know for sure how long it takes the substance to leave the body.

There have been 172 test failures for the banned substance this year, including Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova.

Efimova, who has served a suspension in the past, won the 100m breaststroke at last year's World Championships in Russia.