Yulia Efimova yesterday became the third Russian swimmer to challenge her Rio Olympics ban as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) rejected blame for the Russia doping crisis.
Efimova, who won a 200m breaststroke bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, follows Vladimir Morozov and Nikita Lobintsev in taking her case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
International swimming federation (FINA) General Secretary Cornel Marcelescu confirmed Efimova’s appeal to AFP.
The cases of Morozov and Lobintsev, also medal winners in London and the Beijing Games in 2008, were to be heard by CAS on Sunday, according to sporting sources.
The three are among seven Russian swimmers banned from Rio by FINA after the IOC ordered sporting federations to exclude any Russian competitors implicated in an investigation into Russia’s doping scandals by Canadian lawyer, Richard McLaren.
McLaren’s report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said there was a State-organised doping scheme in Russia, with the secret service helping the sports ministry to manipulate samples at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and other major events in Russia.
At least 117 of the 387 sportsmen and women that Russia had wanted to send to Rio have been excluded. In parallel, there have been recriminations over who is to blame for the shadow cast over the Rio Games.
IOC President Thomas Bach rejected suggestions at a press conference that the chaos represented a “huge failure” for the IOC.
“No. And this is for very obvious reasons,” he replied.
“The IOC is not responsible for the timing of the McLaren report.
“The IOC is not responsible for the fact that different information which was offered to WADA already a couple of years ago was not followed up.”
Russian anti-doping agency whistle-blower Vitaly Stepanov says he first began passing information to WADA in 2010. Doping in Russian athletics was exposed in a German television documentary in 2014.
WADA has said it did not have the power to act on the information and insisted that its priority was to protect Stepanov and his wife Yuliya Stepanova, who are now living in hiding in the United States.
Adding to his thinly veiled attack on WADA, Bach said the IOC was not responsible for the accreditation or supervision of anti-doping laboratories in Russia.
“So therefore, the IOC cannot be made responsible neither for the timing nor for the reasons of these incidents we have to face now and which we are addressing and have to address just a couple of days before the Olympic Games,” Bach said.
The Games, with an estimated 10,500 athletes, start Friday and finish August 21.