Wednesday March 23rd, 2016

FINA, swimming's world governing body, says it is not aware of the concerns or evidence of systemic doping by Russian swimmers, which were raised by The Times of London.

The Times has obtained "evidence of an organized drugs culture" in Russian swimming, which draws comparisons to the problem being faced by Russian track and field athletes. Russia is currently suspended from international competition in track and field and were not able to compete at last weekend's IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships. They could also miss competing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

FINA issued the following statement:

“While Fina is not aware of any concrete evidence of systemic doping in Russian swimming, we have taken a particularly robust approach to our anti-doping procedures in relation to Russia and Russian competitions, in light of Wada’s recent investigation.”

Swimmer Yuliya Efimova was suspended after testing positive for Meldonium, which has resulted in more than 100 positive tests by athletes including tennis star Maria Sharapova.

The Russian Swimming Federation has denied allegations of any cover-ups for its athletes.

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The World Anti-Doping Agency is aware of the allegations.

“There is no doubt that today’s disturbing assertions of orchestrated doping in Russian swimming should be scrutinized,” WADA President Sir Craig Reedie said in a statement. “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. “As a result of information and evidence collected, WADA will make an informed decision as to what form of inquiry is needed and who will conduct it.”

The Times of London will also publish an article exploring doping in Chinese swimming on Thursday. The World Anti-Doping Agency is investigating the matter. The article also mentions lifetime-banned coach Zhou Ming alongside Chinese swimmers.

Last year's Aquatics World Championships took place in Kazan, Russia. There were 645 doping samples collected, which comprised of 457 urine and 188 blood tests. Another 418 blood screenings as part of the biological passport program.

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