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MOSCOW, July 12 /TASS/. Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova will join the Russian Olympic swimming team in Rio de Janeiro on August 1, the team’s head coach, Sergei Kolmogorov, told TASS on Tuesday.
Efimova, who is Russia’s 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in swimming, the four-time world champion and many times winner of European tournaments, announced in March that her doping sample taken in February had shown the presence of banned substance meldonium. The swimmer was suspended immediately from all international tournaments.
Earlier on Tuesday, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) withdrew meldonium abuse charges from Efimova. "Yulia will join the national team in Brazil on August 1. For the moment, she is training according to an individual plan," Kolmogorov said.
Efimova is included in the Russian Olympic national team for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
In May 2014, Efimova was disqualified for 16 months for doping abuse because her doping sample taken in October 2013 contained a banned formula. Efimova was also stripped of five medals won at the 2013 European Short Course Swimming Championships."FINA’s decision was awaited and is not surprising. We expected that and it happened," Kolmogorov added.
According to TASS, 31 Russian athletes have been suspected of using meldonium. Almost 300 athletes have tested positive for the drug. Charges against most of them have already been dropped.
Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova ,however, was banned from competitions for two years (as of January 26, 2016) after she had admitted taking meldonium for 10 years because of various health problems.
Well-known Russian boxer Alexander Povetkin had to postpone his bout scheduled for May 21 because meldonium traces had been found in one of his blood samples. The World Boxing Council is to pass a decision on Povetkin in July.
Athletes use meldonium (mildronate) to strengthen endurance to physical strains during training sessions as well as for easing emotional, nervous and psychological stresses at competitions. The drug is also as a medication for heart diseases in some CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries.