Russian Olympic swimmer Yulia Efimova on Monday vowed to clear her name of doping accusations after she tested positive for the banned drug meldonium.
“I categorically reject the doping accusation,” Efimova said in a home video posted on her official Facebook page. “We are currently preparing for a hearing of my case. We intend to have the accusations completely dismissed and prove that I didn’t violate anti-doping regulations.”
Efimova, who was suspended for 16 months and stripped of five European titles after testing positive for an anabolic steroid in 2013, could face a lifetime ban if found guilty of a second career doping code violation.
The 23-year-old swimmer, who won a bronze medal in the 200-metre breaststroke at the 2012 London Games, conceded she had taken meldonium for medical reasons before the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) ban on the drug came into effect on January 1.
She said experts were now analysing how traces of meldonium could have ended up in her samples months after she stopped taking the drug.
Efimova said she was training with the hope she could compete at this summer’s Rio Olympics, despite having been suspended by swimming’s world governing body FINA earlier this month.
Efimova claimed she had never been notified of meldonium’s addition to WADA’s list of prohibited substances.
“There was a time in my career during which I missed a year and a half because of my own stupidity,” Efimova said of her first suspension. “Since then I have been carefully monitoring anything that enters my body.
“I guarantee that all the medication I have taken and am taking is allowed,” she added. – Agence France-Presse