UPDATED: FINA Lifts Yuliya Efimova’s Provisional Suspension

Jun 20, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Yulia Efimova (RUS) checks her time after completing the final qualifying heat of the Women 200M Breaststroke during the morning session at the George F. Haines International Swim Center in Santa Clara, Calif. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Courtesy: Robert Stanton/USA Today Sports Images

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FINA has lifted Yuliya Efimova’s provisional suspension for testing positive for the banned substance meldonium according to Russian media agency TASS and a statement released today by FINA.

Efimova has not yet been cleared to swim at the 2016 Rio Olympics, however, as her case still faces a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing.  FINA, however, decided to allow Efimova to return to training until CAS decides her ultimate fate.

Officials involved in the process felt this was the most fair resolution so that Efimova does not lose training time should she win her appeal.

“Her case is not on the agenda of the [May 30 FINA Doping] Panel’s session as it went directly to CAS,” Russian Swimming Federation President Vladimir Salnikov said in an interview with TASS. “They have agreed to put all materials in one file and debate the case there [in Lausanne].”

Efimova, a Russian bronze medalist and an Olympic favorite in the breaststroke events should she be allowed to swim, already has tentatively qualified for the Russian Olympic squad after the country tweaked its qualifying rules earlier this year for Efimova’s special case.

Efimova was provisionally suspended earlier this year for testing positive for meldonium, along with an exorbitant amount of other Russian athletes.  The Russian Olympic apparatus, however, has continued to fight the meldonium charges stating that the drug, which was legal last year, could last in an athlete’s body for quite some time.

Last month, the World Anti-Doping Agency did announce that a positive test for less than one microgram of meldonium in the system for tests prior to March 1 would be allowed.  Efimova has contended that her positive tests were under that threshold.

FINA Press Release:

FINA today confirmed that the provisional suspension of the Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova has been lifted from May 20, 2016, the news only being released after FINA had first given notification in person to the athlete and respective National Federation.

This news follows a new recommendation from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA ) on this case. WADA is to undertake further scientific research on Meldonium and have therefore recommended to FINA that the suspension of the swimmer should be lifted.

In mid-April, based on the scientific evidence made available by WADA at that time, FINA’s decision had been to maintain the suspension. This was mainly due to the sequence of testing results of Ms Efimova.

All these developments confirm the extreme complexity and sensitivity related to the inclusion of Meldonium in the list of prohibited substances.

Considering all of the above, FINA clarifies that this case is not closed. Following the outcome of WADA’s scientific studies and subsequent indication on this matter, the FINA Doping Panel will take a decision. After that, Ms Efimova would be entitled to file an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

FINA would like to underline that the decisions taken on this case have strictly followed the FINA Doping Control Rules as well as specific recommendations from WADA concerning the prohibited substance Meldonium.

Full TASS article.

1 comment

  1. Peter Scott

    Not happy with that and I have lost respect for coach Dave Salo. Says he is against doping then welcomes them to his club. Bad news. FINA showing weakness again. FINA is so out of touch!??