Swimming world record holder Efimova and a dozen other Russians latest caught up in doping scandal
Tuesday, 21 January 2014
January 21 - With Sochi 2014 less than three weeks away, Russia's appalling doping record has been further marked by a dozen athletes from seven sports failing tests in addition to the case involving swimming world record holder Yulia Efimova.
With her failed test coming after double gold medal success at the World Championships last summer, Efimova is the most high profile athlete so far to be implicated in a drugs scandal this year.
But, after a month bringing multiple cases in weightlifting and cycling as well as one in figure-skating, the latest failures involve three athletes from shooting and athletics, as well as two from weightlifting, and one each from canoeing, wrestling, powerlifting and kickboxing.
Although no details are given on specific substances taken, a series of statements by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) explained how each athlete has been "informed about the fact of a possible violation of anti-doping rules and their rights".
The statements added that each "cannot participate in training camps and competitions", before a decision is made regarding the violations.
None of the latest group of athletes has won a world or Olympic medal and the most prominent of them comes outside the Olympic sphere in the form of the former national kickboxing champion Andrei Khlynovsky.
In contrast Efimova, whose test result was revealed on January 17, already holds three world titles as well as 10 European gold medals and four titles at the Summer Universiade in Kazan last year.
The 21-year old also won a London 2012 bronze medal in the 200 metres breaststroke.
She reportedlly failed an out-of-competition test in October allegedly for the banned prescription steroid Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and is set to become the fourth Russian swimmer to be banned since London 2012.
Although neither she nor the other athletes to have failed tests compete in winter sports, the results still mark bad news for Russian sports chiefs as the country prepares for the Olympics next month.
While there has been a steady stream of failed tests across the spectrum of sport - including 32 cases in the sport of athletics in 2013 alone - there have also been several in winter disciplines.
In December, national freestyle skiing champion Anna Orlovskaya was handed a two-year suspension for an unspecified "breach of anti-doping rules", before junior figure skater Oksana Nagalati was banned earlier this month for using the masking agent furosemide.
There have also been various cases involving Russian biathletes in recent years, including Turin 2006 gold medallist Albina Akhatova as well as former world champions Dmitri Yaroshenko and Ekaterina Lourieva.
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December 2013: Russian doping problems continue as weightlifters and cyclists banned for failed tests
December 2013: Another top Russian tests positive and will miss Sochi 2014
November 2013: Sochi 2014 achievements will be overshadowed if involved in doping scandal, Bach warns European countries