Yulia Efimova: Swimming's governing body criticised after doping charge dropped

Yuliya Efimova
Yuliya Efimova won gold in the women's 100m breaststroke at the World Championships in August

Swimming's governing body has been criticised after dropping a doping charge against Russia's Yulia Efimova.

Efimova, who won 200m breaststroke bronze at London 2012, could compete at the Rio Olympics after a provisional ban - imposed following a positive test for meldonium - was lifted by Fina.

Jon Rudd, who coaches Ruta Meilutyte - one of Efimova's rivals, said Fina "seem to be very easily manipulated".

British swimmer Michael Jamieson accused Fina of "disgracing our sport".

The London Olympic silver medallist added on Twitter: "You are... destroying the career of honest athletes - shame on you all Fina."

Drug-testing in swimming - the numbers
Fina carried out 1,094 out-of-competition tests on 654 athletes in 2015
It also carried out 815 in-competition tests on 569 athletes last year
Fina spent £560,000 on anti-doping in 2015 - approximately one tenth of the figure that cycling's governing body, the UCI, spent

Four-time world champion Efimova, 24, said the ban caused her "irreparable harm".

"My temporary suspension was not lifted in time and I lost the chance to qualify for the Olympic Games at the national championship," she said.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) added meldonium to its list of banned substances at the start of 2016, but recently gave those athletes who had since failed tests a lifeline with the admission it was unclear how long the substance took to clear the body.

Efimova previously served a 16-month ban after traces of anabolic steroid DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) were found in her system at an out-of-competition test in Los Angeles in 2013.

Ruta Meilutyte
Plymouth-based Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte, one of Efimova's biggest rivals, tweeted her thoughts

Efimova now appears likely to race in Brazil against Plymouth-based Lithuanian Meilutyte, the reigning Olympic 100m breaststroke champion.

Reacting to Efimova's reprieve, Rudd told BBC Sport: "Fina are very good at the soundbites of zero tolerance and stamping doping out of sport, but when they have an opportunity to stand by that conviction, unfortunately they have a habit of capitulating, and here we have it again.

"The longer and longer this matter was in Fina's hands and they were the ones to make a decision, I almost expected this to happen because it's happened before.

"A twisted part of this is I'm kind of glad she's there because I want her beaten."

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