Yulia Efimova: 2016 Olympic reprieve 'would not surprise' Ruta Meilutyte's coach

Yulia Efimova (left) and Ruta Meilutyte (right)
Yulia Efimova (left) beat Ruta Meilutyte (right) to the gold medal in the 100m breaststroke at the 2015 World Championships in Russia

The coach of Olympic breaststroke champion Ruta Meilutyte says he would not be surprised if her Russian rival Yulia Efimova competes at Rio 2016.

Efimova is barred after the IOC said Russian athletes with previous doping bans could not compete.

"It seems to me extremely clear, she won't be there," said Jon Rudd.

"But if our international federation is allowed to become involved and manoeuvre around that ruling, then it wouldn't surprise me if she is there."

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided not to bar the entire Russian team from the 2016 Olympics, despite evidence of a state-sponsored doping programme in a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Association (Wada).

Rudd, who is also the coach of British 50m record holder Ben Proud, says he is unsure whether Fina, swimming's governing body, is strong enough to implement bans on athletes from influential nations.

Efimova was suspended for a second time earlier this year after testing positive for meldonium, but the case against the four-time World Championship gold medallist was dropped earlier this month.

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"I really want to believe in Fina," Rudd told BBC Sport.

"I'm a swimming coach at international level working with international athletes, I want to feel that my and our world governing body has got our backs - that when somebody is doing something that they shouldn't do, that our federation says 'we're not having that'.

"That hasn't been the case, so I'll be extremely happy if Fina redefine themselves now, here's an opportunity for them.

"The IOC, in their weak decision (not to ban the entire Russian team from Rio 2016) have handed an opportunity to Fina for them to regain some credibility.

"Whether that happens or not, watch this space, but at this moment in time I'm not holding my breath."

Rudd says that the IOC missed out on a chance to clean up sport for future generations by not banning the entire Russian team from Rio.

He added: "In 50-100 years' time, people would be saying 'do you remember back in 2016, when sport was rotten, and the IOC made a stand and they made that decision and Russia didn't go, and by 2020 when we all went to Tokyo, sport was a completely different thing and the world cleaned up its act?'

"It needed that stand to do that, to make everybody sit up and say: 'wow these guys mean business'.

"It may not be the only opportunity, as I don't know that this issue is finished, you've got some very powerful people now speaking about their opinions and beliefs on this IOC decision.

"There's undoubtedly going to be controversy at the Olympics, then post-Olympics there could be another opportunity where I think the IOC will reflect and say 'maybe we weren't strong enough'.

"It's an opportunity lost and I seriously hope it's not the only one."

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