Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova.Alexander Vilf / RIA Novosti
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has withdrawn meldonium abuse charges from Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova, the swimmer’s lawyer, Artyom Patsev, told TASS.
Efimova was suspected of using meldonium, a formula, which the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) included in its list of prohibited substances as of January 1, 2016.
Efimova, who is Russia’s 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in swimming, the four-time world champion and many times winner of European tournaments, announced in March that her doping sample taken in February had shown the presence of banned substance meldonium. The swimmer was suspended immediately from all international tournaments.
"We received an official notification from FINA just an hour ago that all the charges [against Efimova] had been dropped. She is free to compete. No punishment has followed," Patsev said.
In May 2014, Efimova was disqualified for 16 months for doping abuse because her blood test taken in October 2013 contained a banned formula. Efimova was also stripped of five medals won at the 2013 European Short Course Swimming Championships.
According to TASS, 31 Russian athletes have been suspected of using meldonium. Almost 300 athletes have tested positive for the drug. Charges against most of them have already been dropped. Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova was banned from competitions for two years (as of January 26, 2016) after she had admitted taking meldonium for 10 years because of various health problems. Well-known Russian boxer Alexander Povetkin had to postpone his bout scheduled for May 21 because meldonium traces had been found in one of his blood samples. The World Boxing Council is to pass a decision on Povetkin in July.
Athletes use meldonium (mildronate) to strengthen endurance to physical strains during training sessions as well as for easing emotional, nervous and psychological stresses at competitions. The drug is also used for preventing heart diseases in some CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries.
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