The Federation Internationale de Natation or International Swimming Federation (FINA) has released a statement indicating the ban of Russian Olympic swimmers from joining Rio 2016. This comes after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that the blanket ban on Russian Olympians will not be imposed, and will leave the decision to the 28 individual sports governing bodies.
According to FINA, the decision was made based on “The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Person (IP)” report which revealed that anti-doping rules were not correctly implemented in Russia. Specific details of the findings showed that the Russian Sports Ministry and the Center for Training of Russian National Teams had covered up the use of the drug meldonium among Russian athletes. Meldonium (mildronate), a cardiovascular drug freely available in Russian pharmacies, is included in the list of substances banned by WADA.
In total, seven Russian Olympic swimmers will not be participating in the upcoming games. The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has pulled out four athletes in line with the allegations. This includes titled swimmer Yulia Efimova, who won the bronze medal in the 200m Breast Stroke event in London 2012. The other swimmers pulled out by the ROC are Mikhail Dovgalyuk, Natalia Lovtcova and Anastasia Krapivina (Marathon Swimming). Meanwhile, three athletes appearing in the WADA IP report are Nikita Lobintsev, Vladimir Morozov and Daria Ustinova, are also banned from joining Rio 2016.
Remaining suspended from joining the games are the Russian track and field athletes, whose governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) upheld their decision to ban the team.
In the last Summer Olympics, Russia finished among the top three in the medal standings, lagging only behind the United States and China. The country also finished at the top in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, winning 33 medals, of which 13 were gold.
PHOTO COURTESY: Tony Hisgett/ Flickr