'Relieved' Efimova says she's cleared for Rio

Fri Aug 5, 2016 4:57pm EDT
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By Mark Trevelyan

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Russian breaststroker Yulia Efimova said on Friday she would take part in the Rio Olympics, a day after winning an appeal against a doping ban, but there was no immediate confirmation from swimming's governing body FINA.

Efimova posted a picture of herself on Instagram, looking surprised and tearful, with the caption: "I'm going to the Olympics. I couldn't be more proud and relieved."

The four-times world champion was handed a lifeline on Thursday when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld her appeal against her ban from the Games, whose preparations have been overshadowed by revelations of widespread state-sponsored doping in Russia.

Last-minute appeals by banned Russians have turned the build-up into a legal obstacle course, creating uncertainty for the athletes and for their rivals.

Efimova's name is currently missing from the starting list for the 100 meters breaststroke, whose heats take place on Sunday, and Wednesday's 200m, the event in which she won an Olympic bronze medal in London in 2012.

Russian news agency R-Sport quoted Vladimir Salnikov, head of the country's swimming federation, as saying FINA had written to CAS to confirm it supported the readmission of Efimova and four other banned Russian swimmers - Natalia Lovtsova, Darya Ustinova, Mikhail Dovgalyuk and Anastasia Krapivina.

A FINA spokesman declined to comment, saying the federation would issue a statement "if we have something to say".

Efimova, 24, was banned by FINA between October 2013 and February 2015 after testing positive for traces of the anabolic steroid DHEA.   Continued...

Jun 20, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Yulia Efimova (RUS) checks her time after completing the final qualifying heat of the Women 200M Breaststroke during the morning session at the George F. Haines International Swim Center in Santa Clara, Calif. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports