Russia’s four-time world swimming champion Efimova reportedly fails for meldonium

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Update: The Russian Swimming Federation writes here about Efimova being temporarily suspended for a possible anti-doping rule violation.

Four-time world swimming champion Yuliya Efimova has become the latest high profile Russian athlete to have failed a doping test for meldonium, it has been widely reported this evening.

Efimova, the 100 metres breaststroke champion at last year’s home World Championships in Kazan, is Russia’s leading swimmer, having also won a 50m world title in 2009 and the 50 and 200m double in 2013 in addition to a London 2012 Olympic bronze medal over 200m.

But the 23-year-old is already a controversial figure, having served a 16-year ban from the sport for a previous failure for banned prescription steroid DHEA in 2013.

She claimed to have inadvertently taken the steroid from a supplement she bought at a store in California, where she was training, and that a salesperson assured her the supplement was “doping-free”, though DHEA was clearly listed as an ingredient on the label.

Efimova was stripped of her five titles at the 2013 European Shortcourse Championships in Herning, but many criticised how her 2013 World Championships performances survived and that she was able to return in time for Kazan 2015.

The Russian Swimming Federation is “aware” of her failure for meldonium, a source told the TASS news agency today.

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