Swimming: Fina clears Efimova of meldonium charges - agent

MOSCOW (AFP) - Swimming's world governing body Fina has cleared Russian swimming star Yulia Efimova of all charges for using the banned drug meldonium, the swimmer's agent said Tuesday.

"Yulia received a letter from Fina doping panel chairman Robert Fox, which said that all charges for meldonium use had been dismissed," her agent Andrei Mitkov told AFP.

"No sanctions were imposed against her. The case is closed."

The 24-year-old swimmer, who won bronze at the 2012 London Games, was handed a provisional ban in March after testing positive for meldonium, the same medication that saw Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova banned.

The coach of the Russian national swimming team, Sergei Kolmogorov, told TASS news agency that Efimova would be joining her teammates in Brazil for the Rio Olympics next month.

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.

But Fina later insisted that it would pursue a doping inquiry into Efimova's case despite having lifted her suspension.

Swimming coaches had expressed dismay at Fina's leniency toward Efimova, who served a 16-month ban after testing positive of the steroid DHEA in late 2013 and was facing a lifetime ban for a second doping offence.

WADA said in March that it would launch an investigation into doping in Russian swimming after British newspaper The Times claimed Sergei Portugalov, the doctor said to be the mastermind behind doping in Russian athletics, had pushed swimmers on Russia's national team to take performance-enhancing drugs.

FINA last month said that it would undertake a similar investigation.

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