On the evening of July 14, 2021, a press release published on the official website of the International Swimming Federation (FINA) stated that two Russian athletes, members of the ROC Team to participate in the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo, Japan, Veronika Andrusenko and Alexander Kudashev were temporarily suspended from participation in the competitions due to the disciplinary proceedings.
According to the press release, the basis for the disciplinary proceedings was the information from the LIMS database of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory, according to which the athletes allegedly committed anti-doping violations. Thus, the athletes are accused of committing violations back in 2012-2015, i.e. the events that allegedly took place more than six years ago.
The athletes have an unconditional right to protection, which is guaranteed by the World Anti-Doping Code and the FINA Anti-Doping Rules. The Russian Olympic Committee is in daily contact with the management of the Russian Swimming Federation, which plans to provide the athletes with all necessary assistance in this situation. For its part, the ROC is also ready to assist our athletes and the Russian Swimming Federation within the existing legal procedure.
Unfortunately, temporary suspension of the athletes at this moment puts their participation in the forthcoming Olympic Games under question in accordance with existing anti-doping rules. Of course, in the event that their status changes before the competitions in which Veronika Andrusenko and Alexander Kudashev were supposed to participate, the Russian Olympic Committee will take all necessary measures to restore the entry of these athletes to the Tokyo Games.
At the same time, the Russian Olympic Committee is puzzled by the fact that disciplinary proceedings against Russian athletes were initiated on the eve of the Olympic Games and after the deadline for entry to participate in the Olympic Games had expired.
This situation is particularly egregious given the fact that back in April 2020, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) publicly announced that it had completed the compilation of disciplinary cases against 298 Russian athletes based on the LIMS database of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory, and that these cases were to be handed over to the relevant international federations.
Thus, the WADA and FINA had the necessary (in their opinion) information to initiate these disciplinary cases a year ago.
We can only guess what caused this delay – negligence or planned actions to deprive the Russian Olympic Committee of the opportunity to fully use the Olympic licenses it had won, since after the deadline for entry, athletes can be replaced in the final list for medical reasons only.
We plan to send a corresponding request to FINA demanding an explanation of the reasons for the initiation of disciplinary proceedings immediately prior to the Olympic Games, given that the necessary information for this was available as early as spring 2020.