Russia is in the news again over fresh doping allegations.
Photo: Russian swimmers [courtesy Getty images]
According to a report in The Times newspaper on Wednesday, Russia stands accused of using illegal drugs labs and covering up tests to enhance the country’s swimming performance.
An investigation by the newspaper claims there was an “alarming picture of systematic drug use in the sport” over the past decade.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had unanimously voted to suspend Russia from athletics for widespread, state-sponsored doping in November.
Once again, it appears the country’s swimmers could be facing a similar sanction after The Times claimed to have uncovered “an organised drug culture”.
The Times claims that the doctor at the centre of the drug allegations in Russian athletics, Sergei Portugalov, was also involved in deploying a “doping policy” for the country’s swimmers.
Russia is already facing a ban from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this summer over the athletics scandal with World Anti-doping Agency [WADA].
WADA was urged to launch an investigation into swimming and other sports that could be involved in the use of illegal drugs to boost the performance of the country’s competitors.
“They are just playing games and laughing behind our backs,” said Travis Tygart, the chief executive of the anti-doping in the US.
Tygart is the figure who exposed the cheating of American cyclist Lance Armstrong.
“There has to be a consequence – this was a state-sponsored system and anything less than some meaningful consequence is just not fair to clean athletes.
Of course we want all countries at the Olympic Games, but that cannot come at the expense of clean athletes’ rights.”
Russia already has the worst record in swimming of any country with more than 40 positive tests in 10 years, according to the Times.
Yuliya Efimova, a favourite to win gold in breaststroke in Rio, is facing a life ban for testing positive for Meldonium after a 16-month ban for steroids.
Meldonium is the banned drug that could see Russia’s Maria Sharapova suspended from tennis.