Russian swimming champion Yulia Efimova has shared her opinion on the newly-introduced sanctions against Russia, highlighting that similar harsh measures have not been applied to other athletes with doping suspensions.
Talking to RT, the six-time world champion revealed that she had expected such an outcome regarding the WADA ban, and recalled her own experience of being on the verge of an Olympic ban in 2016.
“Right after my race at the Rio Games, I said that this doping controversy was not over, it was just the beginning, and we would have problems in the future,” Efimova told RT.
“It was quite clear. And with every new year the situation is only getting worse and worse. Our athletes were not allowed to compete under the national flag at the 2018 Winter Games. The entire country was banned. Now the sanctions have become even tougher with a four-year ban being imposed.”
Efimova, who had sat out a two-year doping disqualification, was initially banned from performing in Rio before winning an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which allowed her to take part in the major summer sports contest.
When asked what she would do if she is again denied a chance to participate in the Olympics due to her doping-marred sports record, Efimova said she will again address the issue in the court.
“I will behave in a similar way. I have already hired a lawyer. There is a rule that a person can’t be punished twice for the same offence. If you violate a driving code or instigated a brawl you will not be punished twice for that. I hope it will work, but I cannot be sure of (a positive outcome).”
“If you introduce those rules, they must be applied to all athletes. Yes, long ago I made a doping violation and I was disqualified for almost two years. But there are a great number of US and European athletes who have a similar situation regarding doping and they are competing without any restrictions. If you want to introduce those regulations, they must be equally applied to all athletes, not only Russian competitors,” the three time Olympic medalist said.
The swimmer said that WADA’s decision to ban Russia from major sports events was a highly-politicized step aimed at banning Russian national symbols.
“Yes, I really think it’s more politics. For me, I can see they approve athletes but with a neutral flag,” Efimova said. “But they don’t approve any athletes, even young and clean, to represent Russian Federation. (They don’t want to) see a Russian flag at the competitions. I think it’s pretty clear.”
This article is republished from RT.com under a Creative Commons license.