FINA Releases Statement on Efimova’s Temporary Doping Suspension

FINA, the international governing body for aquatic sports, has released a statement on its decision to lift the temporary suspension of Russian breaststroker Yulia Efimova.

Efimova, who was suspended earlier this year after testing positive for the newly-banned substance meldonium, was placed under temporary suspension in March until the FINA Doping Panel could here her case.

Late last week, Russian state news revealed that FINA had lifted that temporary suspension while Efimova was awaiting a hearing in front of both the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Today, FINA confirmed that the suspension was lifted, though contrary to the TASS reports, they say that she will still face a decision by the FINA Doping Panel, after which she “would be entitled to file an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).”

FINA also explained why they decided to lift the temporary suspension but still pursue the case to the FINA Doping Panel.

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.

The reference to WADA is the organizations recommendation that for doping controls made in January, if the level of meldonium found in the system was below 1 microgram per millilitre, there should be leniency given. This recommendation was made on basis that there was not enough research to indicate if the drug should have been able to completely clear an athlete’s system since the announcement of its banishment.

FINA says that the reason they didn’t lift the temporary suspension earlier was due to “the sequence of testing results” of Efimova.

“All these developments confirm the extreme complexity and sensitivity related to the inclusion of Meldonium in the list of prohibited substances,” the statement said.

FINA also emphasized that they feel they are strictly following their own FINA Doping Control Rules and WADA recommendations in lifting the suspension.

“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.”

Efimova, who had been training in the U.S. under Dave Salo prior to her suspension, has not returned to the club according to her former coach, contrary to some media reports.

Efimova is the defending Olympic bronze medalist in the 200 breaststroke and a four-time World Champion. One of those world titles, in the 100 breaststroke, came at last year’s championship, after Efimova returned from a different 16-month doping suspension that cost her both 4 individual gold medals from the 2013 European Championships as well as World Records in the 50 and 200 breaststrokes in short course meters.

The full statement from FINA is below:

FINA Communications Department

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.

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FRswimmer

Putin has confirmed that Russia has provided free security details services to ensure the safety of WADA executives.

Sam

“FINA says that the reason they didn’t lift the temporary suspension earlier was due to “the sequence of testing results” of Efimova.”

If I’m reading that correctly it implies that a later test may have had a higher level than an earlier one meaning it’s likely it wasn’t just taking time to leave the body but there was a continuance of usage, even if it was below 1ug/ml. If that’s true then it would appear deliberate post-ban. There are a lot of assumptions in what I’m saying but that’s how I’m reading it.

Dpacheco99

A fair decision, although I’m sure there will be a lot of butthurt people

Peter

why is this fair in any ethical sense??

Teamwiess

I am not a fan of Efimova by any means but WADA came out and said results under 1 unit would be considered null. Others were cleared under that standard. If, and that is a big if, Efimova was under 1 unit then it is fair. You can criticize the standard used but to hold her to a different standard would be unfair. Again, I haven’t seen the fact that she was under one unit from any official source so this is contingent on the establishment of the fact that she was.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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