Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Russian swimmers to miss Rio Olympics over doping

Published:Tuesday | July 26, 2016 | 7:00 AM

MOSCOW (AP):

Seven Russian swimmers have been barred from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, including three linked to recent allegations of a major doping cover-up by Russian authorities, world swimming's governing body FINA said yesterday.

Reigning world 100m breaststroke champion Yulia Efimova is among four Russian swimmers withdrawn by the Russian swimming federation because they previously served doping bans, FINA said. The others are Natalya Lovtsova, Anastasia Krapivina, and Mikhail Dovgalyuk.

The International Olympic Committee on Sunday said Russian athletes with previous doping bans would be banned from the Rio Games. That followed the IOC's decision not to ban the entire Russian team over allegations of state-sponsored doping.

FINA said three more swimmers were identified by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren when he examined evidence that Russian government officials ordered the cover-up of hundreds of doping tests.

They are 2008 Olympic silver and 2012 bronze medallist Nikita Lobintsev, bronze medallist Vladimir Morozov, and world junior record holder Daria Ustinova.

Russia's top Olympic official, Alexander Zhukov, told Russian agency R-Sport that he now believed a total of 13 Russians would be ineligible due to previous doping bans. They would be withdrawn from the team, he added.

The 13 are likely to include athletes in swimming, cycling, weightlifting, wrestling, and rowing.

On Sunday, the IOC's executive board asked individual global sports federations to decide on the entry of Russian athletes, and announced new eligibility criteria.

The rules prohibit Russia from sending to the Rio Games any athletes who have previously served doping bans. Sports federations can also reject Russian entries if they have not undergone enough international drug testing. Results of Russian tests will not be accepted following allegations of routine cover-ups at Moscow's anti-doping laboratory.

CHALLENGE UNCLEAR

It remains unclear whether there could be legal challenges to the IOC criteria. A similar IOC measure, known as the Osaka Rule, which would have prohibited any athletes, who had received doping bans from competing in the subsequent Olympics, was declared invalid by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Zhukov said the IOC's latest criteria violated the "principle of equality" because they only applied to Russia, although he has previously ruled out legal action.

However, Russian Swimming Federation president Vladimir Salnikov told the state Tass agency that the four swimmers cut from its team "have the chance to appeal to CAS". Efimova's agent, Andrei Mitkov, told Russia's Sportbox website that she intended to file an appeal if she was not allowed to compete.

Russia's track and field athletes remain barred from the games by the IAAF, a decision upheld last week by CAS and accepted by the IOC.

Now, with the August 5 opening ceremony approaching, it is up to the remaining 27 international sports federations to vet Russian athletes on an individual basis.

The International Weightlifting Federation said yesterday it was seeking "further clarification" from the IOC and WADA before making a decision on which Russian athletes can be cleared to compete at Rio.

The IWF said no Russian weightlifter sanctioned for doping would be allowed to compete - even if they had already served their suspension - and that it was waiting for evidence from the Russian athletes entered for Rio before making its decision. The Archery federation said it had approved the entry of three Russian archers after determining they had no links to doping.

Archery was not implicated in the World Anti-Doping Agency report released last week by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, which accused Russia of covering up doping in 20 summer Olympic sports.

The International Tennis Federation said it expects Russia's eight-player Olympic tennis team to be eligible for the games.

Russian cyclist Ilnur Zakarin, who won a stage during the Tour de France, which ended Sunday, could be ruled out because he served a two-year ban after testing positive for a steroid in 2009.