According to Russian state-owned news agency TASS, FINA has lifted the temporary suspension against Yulia Efimova. This does not mean, however, that Efimova has been cleared to swim at the 2016 Olympics. Instead, the case will bypass the FINA Doping Panel and go straight to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Efimova was banned earlier this year after testing positive for the newly-banned substance Meldonium. This was Efimova’s second time testing positive for a banned substance, meaning that she faces a lifetime ban.
Following their protocol, FINA issued a temporary suspension upon Efimova that, aside from preventing her from competing, also did not allow her to train in any formal setting with a coach that was under the FINA umbrella.
Russian Federation president Vladimir Salnikov, himself a four-time Olympic champion, told the CAS that “Her case is not on the agenda of the [May 30 FINA Doping] Panel’s session as it went directly to CAS….They have agreed to put all materials in one file and debate the case there [in Lausanne].”
FINA had previously rejected Efimova’s request to lift the temporary suspension, which kept her from competing at this week’s European Championships. Efimova’s coach claimed that she tested positive for a small amount of meldonium, under the threshold set by WADA for an amount that could have been left in an athlete’s blood early in 2016 even if they stopped taking the substance when the ban was announced.
The Russian 24-year old is a World Record holder and four-time World Champion and won the bronze medal in the 200 breaststroke at the 2012 Olympic Games. After finishing her first suspension, Efimova raced a the home World Championships in 2015 to a victory in the 100 breaststroke.
Editor’s Note: The TASS originally reported that Efimova’s hearing at the CAS would be May 30th. They have changed their reporting to indicate it is “to be determined.”