WADA to probe claims of doping in Russian swimming


The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has signalled its intention to investigate claims of systematic doping in Russian swimming.

The Times published the findings of an investigation on Wednesday, alleging that Dr Sergei Portugalov, named in a WADA independent commission's report into systemic doping in Russian athletics and accused of supplying athletes with banned substances, also pushed performance-enhancing drugs on swimmers.

Additionally, it was also claimed a coach was informed by a leader in Russian swimming that the team had a "pharmacological laboratory on site" and two swimmers did not receive punishment having tested positive for EPO.

Olympic breaststroke bronze medallist Yuliya Efimova revealed she had tested positive for meldonium this week. Russian track and field athletes are banned from competition following the independent commission's probe.

Swimming's governing body FINA claimed to be unaware of any evidence that would suggest the sport had been corrupted like athletics.

A WADA statement on The Times' claims read: "These suggestions are of concern to WADA and its partners in the anti-doping movement; and, arrive at a time when trust in clean sport is already in a perilous state.

"WADA will follow up by examining information provided by its Independent Commission which would corroborate The Times reports. On the basis of this, and potential information from other sources, WADA will make a decision regarding what level of inquiry is needed.

"WADA has already written to the world swimming governing body, FINA. In particular, we are concerned by the allegations that Mr. Sergei Portugalov – who is currently facing a lifetime ban from working in athletics due to the Commission's findings – may be working in swimming.

"It should be noted that, under the World Anti-Doping Code, such a lifetime sanction should also be recognized by all other International Sport Federations."

Craig Reedie, the WADA president, added: "There is no doubt that today's disturbing assertions of orchestrated doping in Russian swimming should be scrutinised.

"WADA and its partners are under no illusions about the challenges facing sport's integrity today. Clean athletes are justifiably concerned that their rights are being eroded through the minority that choose to dope in sport."