More than 2 Years Since FINA Sucked Up To Putin But Doping Questions Go Unanswered

Russia got to chink glasses with the IOC once more in Rio in 2016 - but the story is not over, nor the fallout [All images are stills from "Red Herrings" by ARD]

Editorial

In 2014, FINA gave its highest honour a politician it would have been very wise to steer clear of in keeping with the sensible paths and oaths designed to keep sport away from global politics.

Since then, a wide range of SwimVortex articles, features and editorials have included the reasons why, under such circumstances, it was beholden on all who worked inside FINA in voluntary roles to question the decisions being taken by a few people at the helm of the international swimming federation and call on those there to provide the checks and balances that their role and presence demand to actually flick that most important of switches.

Almost none did so, including delegates galore from domestic federations around the world.

The start of 2017 and the bad news continues to flow. If Vladimir Putin is said to have been at the heart of Russian doping (see link below),  then ARD, the German TV station, and its Sportschau, has a new whistleblower confirming the worst, in this article headed “Lies and Hypocrisy”.

In 2016 and 2015 SwimVortex noted the links between Putin and disturbing trends in anti-doping in Russia; the WSCA and domestic coaching affiliates pointed to the same arguments, including clear evidence of deep-seated problems and urged FINA to shift its anti-doping testing for the 2015 World Championships out of Moscow. It refused, stating that it was confident all would be well, citing as its reasons for being so confident that the same checks and balances that applied to the Sochi Winter Olympics would be in place for Kazan 2015 world swim titles.

Among revelations in SwimVortex articles in the past two years are the following lines of enquiry:

  • Two Russian swimmers tested positive for EPO, the blood booster, in 2009, the year that Putin ordered all anti-doping samples to be checked at the Russian border before leaving the country (that order was later relinquished, presumably because someone pointed out that it took the WADA Code and burnt it to cinders)
  • Among the Russian swimmers who tested positive were two who were told ‘tell us who have you this banned substance and we will be lenient’. The swimmers told their story and a doctor was identified. Nothing came of it, however, because a local police chief stepped in and told the Russian swim federation ‘this goes no further’. The cases were, therefore, never reported to WADA, nor FINA, in contravention of the WADA Code.
  • FINA said in 2016 that it would launch inquiries into the above and other revelations in an inquiry by The Times and SwimVortex. Whe it asked for help, FINA was pointed in the direction of one of its Bureau members, Vladimir Salnikov, president of the Russian swim federation and a man who was there when the events of 2009 unfolded. To date, FINA has taken no action in its ‘inquiry’ into the revelations of 2016.
  • As far as we are aware, no domestic federation, despite claiming to take a determined anti-doping stance in support of their clean athletes and clean sport, has challenged FINA to investigate in rigorous fashion the allegations made by impeccable sources talking to The Times and SwimVortex in the past two years. (Those included whistleblowers in China who feared that six positive tests would be hidden if the media did not reveal them; the day after we reported five unreported cases, China acknowledged that it had six new cases pending in swimming).

The folk who brought the crisis to the world’s attention: ARD, the station that sparked the Russian doping inquiries with whistle-blower evidence in a series of investigations from December 2014 onwards

It was December 2014 when ARD revealed to the world the extent of Russia’s systematic doping program. That sparked inquiries commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. It was December 2016 when we got the first acknowledgements from Russia that yes, an organised doping program had been in play. With that acknowledgement came a repeat of the claim that Russia’s regime, officials and ministers, were not involved.

There is some hefty evidence that suggests otherwise.

Against the backdrop of all that has come to pass 2009 to now (the period in which Russian swimming lodged the highest count of doping cases in the sport), here is a touch of Sunday reading in the Mail On Sunday from reporters Nick Harris and Roger Pielke that ought not to pass you by:

Some of the headlines 2013-16 that point to a gathering storm

  • Intl Anti-Corruption Day, WADA McLaren Report: State Doping Of >1000 Russians
  • Three Key Doping Experts Quit FINA Panel Because Leaders Ignored Advice On Russia
  • Bye, See You After The Weekend: In Doping Darkness, Russia World Cup Merits No Light
  • Check Mate: Russian Rook Fatal For IOC – Swimming In A Swamp At Rio 2016
  • Has The Russian Masquerade Stretched to Foxing The IOC Into CAS Case Fit To Ruin Rio?
  • 1st McLaren Cut: IOC Bars Russia From Hosting; Bans Politicians From Rio 2016
  • WADA Bosses Recommend Russia Blanket Ban For Rio 2016, With Bar On Putin’s Politicians
  • Russia Ran ‘State-Dictated Failsafe System To Protect Doped Athletes’ From Detection
  • Martynova Doping Positive ‘Known Before Kazan Worlds’; China/Russia In WADA Focus
  • Russian Anti-Doping Bosses ‘Offered To Remove Swimmers From Testing Pool’
  • Almost Half Of The 31 Beijing 2008 Adverse Findings Hail From Russia, Says Tass
  • World Coaches Back Call For Probe Into Russia & FINA’s Handling Of Doping Issues
  • It’s Business As Usual In Russia, Says Film From German TV Team Behind WADA Inquiry
  • Ex-IAAF Boss Diack Says ‘I Had To Cut A Deal With Putin To Get Russian Dopers Barred’
  • WADA Doping Report: ‘Ban Russia’; Shadow Lab Uncovered; Sports Minister Implicated; Interpol Launches Global Inquiry; Suspensions Galore
  • Yana Martynova Denies Allegation Of Doping Positive Reported In Russian Media
  • Why Hosts Russia Will Come Under Scrutiny As They Race At A Home World Titles
  • Yuliya Efimova, Back From Ban, Opens Russian Nationals With World No 1 Dash
  • Melnikov EPO Doping Ban Is Russian Swim Case No 20 Since Kazan FINA Worlds Bid
  • Dick Pound To Head WADA Inquiry Into Claims Of Russian Doping & Putin Link20
  • FINA Agent IDTM Investigates TV Claims Of ‘Testers On The Way’ Warning In Russia
  • FINA Registers Another Russian Doping Positive As A Shameful Count Mounts
  • Russia Takes A Stroke Closer To Nation Ban As Makov Gets A 2-Year Doping Penalty
  • EPO Positive Lands Melnikov Prov. Ban As Russia’s Doping Woe Swells
  • Yulia Efimova Fails Drug Test, Says Russian Newspaper
  • Russia Tops Swim League Of Suspensions in 2013 
  • Russian Doping Cases Double Year On Year

Time for answers: It was October 2014 when FINA honoured Putin. Since then, a wide range of SwimVortex articles, features and editorials have included the reasons why, under such circumstances, it was beholden on all who worked inside FINA in voluntary roles to question the decisions being taken by a few people at the helm of the international swimming federation and call on those there to provide the checks and balances that their role and presence demand to actually flick that most important of switches. High time that those who say they care about FINA’s survival, clean sport and much else showed it

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