As the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency makes their plans to remove the role of international federations in the anti-doping process, a cautionary talke arrives from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and its tendency to be lenient when cheating rears its head.
Lawyer Artem Patsev has posted news on his Facebook page, the Sports Express website reports, indicating that Russian Vitalina Simonova*, banned for four years by FINA after she tested positive for doping last year, has had her suspension reduced to two years by CAS.
Testostrone was the stuff that showed up in undue proportions in Simonova’s test. Now Patsev claims that CAS has sent him a “Consent Award” that includes a halving of her penalty and a reinstatement of all her results.
Simonova’s ban began on July 29 2015, on the cusp of a home world championships in Kazan, though it was much later when the case was revealed. It was early this year when Simonov’s name failed to appear on a Russian swim federation list of those eligible for participation at Olympic trials. It was July, a full years after the Kazan world titles and the case had been known by the powers than be, when the world heard that Simonova had been banned for four years.
Simonova’s excuse: she bought a food supplement and didn’t realise it contained banned substances. The line is rather a tired one in the realm of doping.
Neither CAS nor FINA have confirmed the news as things stand.
If confirmed, the case will join the long line of inconsistent judgements that set better and lesser known athletes, those with and without access to lawyers, apart in a crumbling anti-doping system. Here is an example of that among the most recent FINA case files:
On July 27, 2016, the diver Bogomil Koynashki (BUL) was tested positive to the prohibited substance Carboxy-THC (Class S.8 Cannabinoids) following an in-competition doping control test conducted on the occasion of the National Diving Championships.
The Bulgarian Swimming Federation imposed a sanction of four (4) years’ ineligibility on the athlete starting on October 20, 2016.
- Cannabis: four years
- Testosterone – and no evidence to confirm whether the swimmer did or did not act deliberately: 2 years.
Of late, Russia has had more bad news on the doping front: Vitaly Melnikov & Eight-Year Doping Ban Highlight How & Why The System Is Broken
CAS is cited in IOC and WADA plans as being a fundamental part in a new world of battle against doping: WADA would oversee all testing and results management, CAS would hand down judgments. Leniency, however, was not supposed to be part of the mix in a new zero-tolerant world, critics are sure to note.
Meanwhile, the lawyer reporting a reduction in Simonova’s ban and apparently beating CAS and FINA with their news, leaves neutrality well behind him when he states:
“Thus, Vitalina will become a full participant in … competition already by June 28, 2017. Tremble, competition!”
Comment: Tremble system, he might have written. Against the backdrop of Rio 2016 and what came to pass with Yuliya Efimova*, Lilly King, Mack Horton and others, swimming will be no snctuary for those towing a doping record with them.
From the 2015-16 Archive: The background
Yana Martynova* was not the only Russia to test positive on the eve of the Kazan 2015 FINA World Championships last year, a four-year suspension for Vitalina Simonova* confirms.
There is no news from or on Alexandre Ilyin, Simonova’s coach in Novosibirsk, nor has FINA revealed any details of a case that in the absence of any statement from the swimmer that she acted alone is almost certain to have involved others not yet called to account, the system appearing yet to be incapable or unwilling to stretch anti-doping rules to the full spectrum of people involved in the preparation of athletes. In the absence of full disclosure of case details, questions abound, such as who supplied the doping and was the swimmer under supervision or guidance of any who knew she was taking a banned substance?
FINA notes in its latest case file:
On 29 June 2015, WADA conducted an out-of-competition doping control test on the swimmer, Vitalina Simonova (RUS). The athlete was tested positive to the substance Testosterone (Class S.1.1B Endogenous Anabolic Androgenic Steroids). The results management for this matter was conducted by FINA.
The FINA Doping Panel decided according to the FINA DC Rule 10.2.1 to impose on the athlete a period of four (4) years’ ineligibility, starting on 29 June 2015 and ending at the conclusion of the 28 June 2019 for her first anti-doping rule violation.
Furthermore, the FINA Doping Panel decided that all results achieved by the athlete on or after 29 June 2015 shall be annulled together with the consequences thereof (forfeiture of medals/prizes, reimbursement of prize money).
Meanwhile, the 2016 Meldonium case of Yuliya Efimova**, who in 2014 was handed a 16-month suspension for an offence in the highest category of such things in the WADA Code after a 2013 positive test, is pending. The Russian has been named on the Rio 2016 Olympic team for her country by a federation headed by FINA Bureau member Vladimir Salnikov despite the pending case.
Efimova will compete next weekend, July 16-17, at the the University of Southern California meet at the Trojan program where she trained throughout her first suspension.
This is the woeful doping-positive picture Salnikov finds himself presiding over as head of the Russian swim federation:
- since Kazan entered a race it won to host the 2015 FINA showcase (between 20 and 22 cases in that time frame)
- Yuliya Efimova – Meldonium – case pending (see 2013 for first case)
- Yana Martynova – banned for four years
- Vitalina Simonova – as above – banned for four years
National Federation Case: Vladimir Dyatchin – Ostarine (Class S.1.2 Other Anabolic Agents) following a doping control test conducted with the occasion of the Russian Open Water Championships – 2 years suspension from July 4, 2014
- National Federation Case: Olga Kluchnikova – Acetazolamide (Class S.5 Diuretics and Masking Agents) Russian National Swimming Championships May 14 [Term: 27-May-14 – 26-Nov-14]
- FINA Case: Vitaly Melnikov (RUS) – Erythropoietin – EPO (Class S.2 Peptides Hormones, Growth Factors and related Substances) at the LEN European Swimming Championships held in Herning (DEN). Two years’ suspension – cancellation of results (forfeiture of medals/prizes, reimbursement of prize money).
- FINA Case: Yuliya Efimova – ￼￼DC 2.1 – 7-keto DHEA OOCT
California out of competition test, October 13 [Term: 31-Oct-13 – 28-Feb-14]
- FINA Case: Sergey Makov – DC 2.1 – Ostarine FINA Swimming World Cup in Moscow, October 13 [Term: 12-Oct-13 – 12-Oct 15]
- National Federation Case: Nikita Maksimov – DC 2.1 – Oral Turinabol Russia out of competition, March 13 [Term: 4-Apr-13 – 4-Apr-15]
- National Federation Case: Igor Akhlustin – DC 2.1 – Methylhexaneamine Russian National Swimming Championships, June 13 [Term: 3-Jul-13 – 3-Jul-15]
- National Federation Case: Anton Komlev – DC 2.1 – Fenoterol Russian Junior Swimming Championships, June 13 [Term: 3-Jul-13 – 3-Jul-14]
- National Federation Case: Victoria Mukhametova – DC 2.1 – Bromantan Russian Swimming Cup, April 13 [Term: 30-Apr-13 – 30-Apr-14]
- National Federation Case: Anastasia Krapivina – DC 2.1 – Methylhexaneamine Russian Swimming Cup, April 13 [Terms: 30-Apr-13 – 30-Sep-13]
- National Federation Case: Mikhail Dovgaluk – DC 2.1 – Methylhexaneamine Russian Junior Swimming Championships, June 13 [Term: 3-Jul-13 – 3-Jul-14]
- National Federation Case: Natalia Lovtsova – DC 2.1 – Methylhexaneamine
Russian National Swimming Championships, November 12 [Term: 30-Nov-12 – 30-May-15]
- National Federation Case: Ekaterina Andreeva – DC 2.1 – Methylhexaneamine
Russian National Swimming Championships, November 12 [Term: 30-Nov-12 – 30-May-14]
- National Federation Case: Kseniya Moskvina – did not make herself available for testing
Russian National Swimming Championships, November 12 [Term: 25-Nov-12 – 25-Nov-13]
- National Federation Case: Kseniya Moskvina DC 2.1 – Methylhexaneamine Russian National Swimming Championships, November 12 [Term: 26-Nov-13 – 26-Nov-19]
6 years – second offence
- National Federation Case: Daria K. Ustinova – DC 2.1 – Tuaminoheptane Russian National Swimming Championships November 12 [Warning, owing to age – 14]
- National Federation Case: Alexander Bodyakin – Furosemide
Out of competition March 11 [Term: 21-Mar-11 – 21-Sep-11]
- FINA Case: Maxim Shcherbakov – 3 filing failures (availability)
Out of competition, 05-Nov-10 [Term 1 year, 05-Nov-10 – 5-Nov-11]
- FINA Case: Evgeny Aleshin – 3 filing failures (availability) Out of competition, 05-Nov-10 [Term 2 years]
- FINA Case: Alexander Morgunov – Norandrosterone, Noretiocholanolone – two years to June 5, 2011
- National Federation Case: Ksenia Ivliva – Furosemide – 2 years
- National Federations Case: Nikita Leviakov – Stanazolol & dehydrochlromethylestosterone – a the junior nationals – 2 years