London Olympics swimmer hit with doping ban



London Olympics swimmer hit with doping banMoscow: A swimmer who competed in the London Olympics has been banned for 2.5 years for breaking anti-doping rules, announced the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).

Natalya Lovtsova was part of the Russian 4x100-metre freestyle relay team, which lost in the heats.

"The Russian Swimming Federation has taken the decision to take sanctions against athlete Natalya Lovtsova in the form of a 2.5 year disqualification," RUSADA said in a website statement Saturday.

The exact nature of the offence has not been specified. The statement said that she had committed a "violation of anti-doping rules".

Lovtsova had been under a temporary suspension since Nov 30, shortly after the Russian championships, and RUSADA said that would be the start date of her ban.

This comes days after two other Russian swimmers from the London Olympics, Ksenia Moskvina and Ekaterina Andreeva, were also banned by RUSADA.

Moskvina will not be allowed to compete until November 2019. She did not compete at last year`s Olympics while Andreeva competed at the 2012 Olympics in the 200m individual medley.

Three other members of Russia`s London contingent have fallen foul of doping controls.

Discus silver medallist Darya Pishchalnikova remains under temporary suspension following a positive doping test, as does hammer thrower Kirill Ikonnikov. Track cyclist Victoria Baranova was expelled during the London Games for having taken artificial testosterone.

The flurry of doping violations prompted the head of the All Russian Athletics Federation to say last month that a major investigation could be launched.

Federation`s president Valentin Balakhnichev cited as an example a recent wide-ranging probe by the Australian Crime Commission, which found evidence of doping in multiple sports.

Balakhnichev suggested he would like to see cycling-style biological passports brought in for all athletes. He added that around 3,600 doping tests were carried out in Russia every year, a sharp rise from previous years.

IANS