Yulia Efimova of Russia (Getty Images)
Moscow - Russian
swimmer Yulia Efimova on Monday became the first athlete to announce
she would appeal against her ban from next month's Rio Games over
Thirteen individual Russian athletes have so far been excluded from
the Rio Games - seven swimmers, two weightlifters, a wrestler and three
rowers - after the International Olympic Committee declined to issue a
In one of the most momentous moves in its long, chequered history,
the IOC left it to each international sports federation to decide if
Russians could take part after they were accused of state-sponsored
The decision, which came after the World Anti-Doping Agency uncovered
evidence of a widespread, government-backed drugs cheating system in
Russia, divided world sport and drew accusations Olympic chiefs were
Swimming governing body FINA banned seven Russian swimmers on Monday,
making it the first international federation to impose sanctions in
light of Sunday's IOC decision.
Vladimir Morozov and Nikita Lobintsev, both 4x100m freestyle
bronze-medal winners with the Russian team at the 2012 Olympics, and
Efimova, another 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, were among the seven
Efimova, 24, a four-time world breaststroke champion, whose
provisional ban for testing positive for meldonium was overturned by
FINA in May, will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS),
her agent Andrei Mitkov told R-Sport news agency.
Other international federations now face a race against the clock
with the opening ceremony only 11 days away, global sport sharply
divided and some Russian competitors already in Brazil.
Russia has been rocked by
doping scandals that saw its track and field team banned from
competition, including Rio, and sparked calls led by WADA for all
Russians to be barred until they cleaned up.
Olympic chiefs had been under pressure to hit Russia with the hardest
sanctions possible to punish state-run doping that was laid bare a week
ago in a report by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren.
It revealed wide-ranging Russian doping in Olympic events from 2011
and including the Sochi Games in 2014, where the secret service used a
hole drilled in a wall to swap the dirty samples of doping competitors
for clean ones.
Four-time Olympic rowing champion Matthew Pinsent led a cacophony of
British condemnation. "IOC has passed the buck - pure and simple," he
wrote in The Times.
Defending Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford also weighed in,
telling the Guardian newspaper: "(The IOC's decision) is a spineless
attempt to appear as the nice guy to both sides."
The Australian government warned that a "suspicion of compromised
integrity" now hung over the Games and New Zealand's anti-doping body
lamented "a black day for clean athletes".
Canada's anti-doping chief Paul Melia called the decision
disheartening and US anti-doping chiefs blasted the IOC for creating "a
confusing mess," although the country's Olympic committee issued a more
"The concept of individual justice must be applied for the benefit of
the athletes who compete against state-sponsored doping systems," it
greeted the decision as "positive," with Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov
telling reporters: "We welcome the main decision, which allows
so-called clean athletes to take part in the Olympic Games."
Dmitry Svishchev, who heads the lower house of Russian parliament's
sports and physical culture committee, told AFP the IOC decision was
But he railed against the fact that Russian athletes who served
doping bans in the past would be barred from Rio under the new IOC
criteria, especially when drug cheats from other countries who had
served their suspensions were allowed to go.
"You can't punish twice for the same thing," Svishchev said.
Russia's gymnastics team - the first group of Russian athletes to
arrive in Rio - are already training, coach Valentina Rodionenko told
R-Sport, saying "the worst is behind us".
Most Russian competitors will fly out on Thursday, although it remains to be seen how many will actually take part in the Games.
The focus will now be on the Olympic sports to let in Russians who they believe are drug-free.
Zhukov said that weightlifters Anastasia Romanova and Tatiana
Kashirina - who won silver at the 2012 Games - and freestyle wrestler
Viktor Lebedev would not compete in Rio in light of the IOC's criteria,
The World Archery Federation quickly declared that three Russians who
had never tested positive for banned substances would be allowed to
compete in Rio.
Russia's fencing and pentathlon federations have expressed confidence
that athletes in their respective sports will also take part, but were
still awaiting official confirmation from the respective federations.