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Dec 10 16

Windsor Day 4 : Dutch ace Puts surprises while Japan excels

by ZwemZa

In the first final of the fourth day of the Championships in Windsor (CAN), Russia managed to revalidate the title in the men’s 4x50m free relay, touching for gold in 1:24.32 – the Europeans have the global mark in this event since Doha 2014 in 1:22.60. Competing with Aleksei Brianskii, Nikita Lobintsev, Aleksandr Popkov and Vladimir Morozov, the Russians were fourth with 50m to go, but a “turbo” last leg (20.71) from Morozov solved the situation in their favour. As in Doha 2014, USA earned silver in 1:24.47, with the fastest anchor leg of the field for Tom Shields in 20.58. Japan got the bronze in 1:24.51

Meet Results

Meet Schedule

The team of Russia – Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

In the women’s 50m fly, Jeanette Ottesen (DEN), the second fastest of the semis, finally got the gold that she was chasing from 2010. On that edition of the Championships, in Dubai (UAE), she was third; then came another bronze in 2012 and a silver in 2014. In Windsor, the Danish star perfectly controlled operations and touched home in 24.92.

Ottesen is a successful athlete in this competition, with this victory being her 11th medal at FINA World Swimming Championships (25m). The minor medals went to Kelsi Worrell (USA, 25.27) and Rikako Ikee (JPN, 25.32).

Jeanette Ottesen (DEN) – Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

One of the revelations at the 2015 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships, US Michael Andrew (17 years old), won the men’s 100m IM final in 51.84, getting his first achievement at this level. World Record holder Vladimir Morozov, certainly feeling the tiring effect of the winning Russian relay some minutes before, finished in sixth (52.83), very distant of his global mark of 50.30.

The two Japanese representatives in the decisive race, Daiya Seto (52.01) and Shinri Shioura (52.17) completed the podium.

Michael Andrew (USA) – Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Owner of the 10 all-time best performances in this event, Katinka Hosszu (HUN) mastered the women’s 100m IM final, getting a comfortable gold in 57.24. The Magyar great is the WR holder in this distance, after clocking 56.67 in December 2015. This victory represented her fifth title in Windsor and certainly confirms her status of FINA Best Female Swimmer of the Year. Moreover, it is the third consecutive victory of the Hungarian star in this event, after triumphing in 2012 (58.49) and 2014 (56.70). Emily Seebohm (AUS), bronze medallist two years ago, upgraded to silver (57.97) in Windsor, while Alia Atkinson (JAM) got the bronze in 58.04.

Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

After two Spanish victories in 2012 (Melanie Costa) and 2014 (Mireia Belmonte), USA recovered the crown in the women’s 400m free. In Windsor, Leah Smith was in control from the beginning of the final, touching in the end for gold in 3:57.78. Her closest opponent during the race was Russia’s Veronika Popova: her effort paid off and she got the silver in 3:58.90. The bronze went to Japan’s Chihiro Igarashi in 3:59.41, while Katinka Hosszu was this time out of the podium, finishing fourth in 3:59.89. Sharon van Rouwendaal (NED), second in Doha 2014 and the 10km Olympic champion in Rio 2016, had to content with the seventh place, in a time of 4:03.69.

Leah Smith (USA) – Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Surprise in the men’s 50m free final, with favourite and fastest of the semis Vladimir Morozov (RUS, winner in 2012) losing the gold to an “unknown” Jesse Puts, from the Netherlands. The Russian looked in control of the race, but in the last 20m, Puts (22 years old), swimming in lane 7, made a final effort and touched for gold in 21.10, against Morozov’s 21.14 for silver. The bronze went to Simonas Bilis, from Lithuania, in a time of 21.23 – it was the first-ever men’s medal for the Baltic country in the history of the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m). For Puts, it was the second medal in Windsor, after getting the silver with his three teammates in the mixed 4x50m free relay – then, the Dutch sprinter had already been the fastest of the field in the first leg, clocking 21.27.

Jesse Puts (NED) – Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbuemedia

In the men’s 50m backstroke, Junya Koga (JPN) confirmed his fast credentials from the semis and earned gold in 22.85, his first success at this level. His performance was however distant from the World and Championships record, established in Doha 2014 by Florent Manaudou (FRA) in 22.22. Jérémy Stravius, also from France, got the silver in Windsor (22.99), while Pavel Sankovich, from Belarus, earned the bronze in 23.03. It is the first gold medal for Japan in this event at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m). Robert Hurley, from Australia, winner in 2012, was only fifth this time, in 23.32.

Junya Koga (JPN) – Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

In a thrilling eighth final of the day, the team of Russia brilliantly won the men’s 4x200m free relay, in a time of 6:52.10. The Europeans recovered the crown they had lost since 2012 for the USA. In fact, the last two editions of the Championships had been won by the North Americans (6:51.40 four years ago, and 6:51.68 in Doha 2014), but this time in Canada, they had to content with the silver in 6:53.34. The bronze went to Japan, whose last swimmer touched the wall in 6:53.54. It was the seventh medal of the day for the Asian nation!

Pedro Adrega, Head of FINA Communications



Dec 10 16

Windsor 2016 : Ranomi Kromowidjojo set for more success

by ZwemZa

Arena’s Ranomi Kromowidjojo from the Netherlands already pocketed two silver medals in the 100m race (51.92) and in the mixed relay (4×50) but the hungry swimmer is not thinking to slow down yet.

Making her come back on the swimming stage after a lower back injury, which probably prevented her to perform her best at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Kromowidjojo is showing great shape at the 13th FINA World Championships currently taking place in Windsor, Canada.

Taking part in an Arena Meet&Greet this morning at the WFCU Centre, Kromowidjojo said: “I am definitely here for more success after this great start. The next steps for me are the 50m free on Sunday and the women’s 4×50 free. I hope to swim fast and maybe get more medals.”

Speaking about her preparation plans for the next six months, she explained: “I am mainly going to be based in Eindhoven, where I live and train but I am going to attend a training camp in Malaga, Spain, in January. It is a three-week training camp. The in February and March we will stay at home to train. In April we have the trials for the Championships and then finally another training camp. It is a good half year to come.”

I had a minor lower back injury before the Games but I am totally recovered and I feel fine now. I am ready to race again, no problem anymore.

FINA Communication Department

Dec 10 16

Windsor 2016 : Marco Koch: losing 13kg, winning all

by ZwemZa

Marco Koch went through a visible transformation. He got rid of 13kg during the autumn and the lean German clinched clean wins both in the 100m and the 200m breaststroke here in Windsor, leaving the Rio memories behind. The world has witnessed a similar story featuring a German breaststroker some ten years ago. In fact, Mark Warnecke has his share in Koch’s new rise.

Koch arrived to Rio as the reigning World Champion who took over the reign from Olympic title-holder Daniel Gyurta (HUN) in Kazan. However, his road to Rio looked a bit shaky, he couldn’t come up with a convincing performance at the Europeans in May in London and at the Olympics he was unable to deliver his usual performance and finished 7th.

“No, I don’t consider it a failure” he insisted when we met him in the iZone, a new feature in the FINA press operations here in Windsor. “I gave my best, it was a good swim, my maximum on the given day, enough for the place I clinched and that’s all.”

Some would see it as a failure but Marco didn’t even mention this word. “I came over it pretty easily, as I felt I was well prepared and I as I told you, I left everything in the pool that evening.”

What came next – was something new. “I knew I wanted to change something though, so I turned to Mark Warnecke, our first world champion in the 50m breaststroke who advised me to run a strict diet as a beginning.”

It was an obvious choice, indeed. Mark Warnecke made headlines back in 2005 when he became the oldest champion ever in the history of the FINA World Championships when he won in Montreal aged 35. He faced a bright career, he even made the podium in Atlanta 1996 in the 100m breast but the real breakthrough didn’t come. He opted for a strict diet and after reshaping himself he burst to the scene once more and achieved that miraculous win here in Canada. By then he had submerged to the world of dietary products and healthy eating and he founded a company named AMSports whose main profile is to help athletes with their diets and the ordinary people to consume healthy food supplements.

So Koch headed to Warnecke and the former breaststroker was keen to aid his successor. For a month, Marco only ate Mark’s products. For a week it was like hell for him. His daily ‘allowance’ was 1,500 calories, while he continued his daily practice in the pool.

“It lasted a month or so. Well, the first week was terrible. Especially for those around me. If you had come there and put me a wrong question, I might have even hit you… No, just kidding, but it was brutal. However, a week as enough, my body got used to it and from that point it was easy.”

Marco lost an amazing 13kg in a single month. What we got: a swimmer faster than ever. As a first sign, he brought down Daniel Gyurta’s short-course World Record at the German Nationals (2:00.44 – shaving 0.04sec off the old mark), then he came here in Windsor and made the double once more after the s/c Europeans in Netanya a year ago. (“It wasn’t about just weight. I weighed 7 kilos more in Kazan and was still good for a win but this new diet definitely helped” Marco added.)

Previously he ruled the 200m mainly, now he won the 100m, too. Both events with ease. Adam Peaty bypassed this meet but the British Lion – winner of the FINA Top Olympic Performance of the Year Award days ago – might have to to face a tough challenge in his trademark 100m event next year at Budapest.

Asked if it had been a kind restart for the freshly crowned double world champion, Koch smiled first, then nodded. “Yeah, I was reborn, for sure.” So just as Mark, Marco also opened a new chapter at a World Championships held in Canada. The only difference is his age. He is 26, so his story doesn’t end here.


Dec 10 16

Windsor 2016 : SA relay quartet qualify for final

by ZwemZa
(USA Swimming)

(USA Swimming)

There was good news for SA swimming fans on Friday as the men’s 4x50m freestyle relay team qualified for the final at the FINA Short Course Swimming World Championships.

The team, swimming in the third and final heat, and comprising of Douglas Erasmus, Bradley Tandy, Chad le Clos and Eben Vorster, finished third in a time of 1:26.95.

That time was good enough for fifth overall – and a spot in Saturday morning’s (SA time) final.

The USA posted the fastest time of 1:25.01.

After three days of action in the pool, Team SA lie tied fourth in the medal standings, thanks to Le Clos’ three medals (two golds and a silver).

Dec 10 16

Russian doping whistleblower gives rare interview

by ZwemZa
Yuliya Stepanova competed in this year's European Championships in Amsterdam but was banned by the IOC from the Rio Games  (Getty Images)

Yuliya Stepanova competed in this year’s European Championships in Amsterdam but was banned by the IOC from the Rio Games (Getty Images)

The elite Russian athlete Yuliya Stepanova has won worldwide fame – not so much for what she has achieved on the track but what she dared to do off it.

For the past two years she, her husband Vitaly and their three year old son, Robert have been on the run. They live in secret, fearing for their lives, after the couple exposed one of the greatest sporting scandals of all time – Russia’s state sponsored doping programme.

In a rare interview at an undisclosed location in the US, Stepanova spoke to BBC 100 Women about the cheating, cover-ups and life on the run.

‘I knew it was banned’

Born in the twilight years of the Soviet Union, Stepanova was brought up in Kursk, eight hours drive south west of Moscow. Her childhood, spent on the edge of an industrial estate, was far from idyllic. Her father, who worked in a tyre factory, drank and regularly beat her, her mother and her two sisters.

Athletics was Stepanova’s escape. As a teenager she would practise high jumps at the local Victoria Athletics Club. Her first coach, Vera Ivanova, remembers a girl who was “serious and focused”, but Stepanova says her father resented the amount of time she devoted to sport. He wanted her to help with digging and planting on the family’s vegetable patch.

Stepanova switched from high jumps to middle distance running, and by the age of 20 she had begun to excel, winning regional races. Her performance reached even higher levels when her coach, Vladimir Mokhnev, suggested testosterone injections to help her recover her strength after a serious chest infection.

“I knew it was banned,” she says, “but I think my coach prepared me well because he was telling me stories about how it’s normal, that’s what all athletes do.”

Soon she was onto more potent substances, including anabolic steroids which initially made her muscles so stiff she could hardly walk.

Once she was on the Russian national team, Stepanova was sent to Dr Sergei Portugalov, a top sports scientist accused in a 2015 report by the World Anti-Doping Agency of being “very active in the conspiracy to cover up athletes’ positive tests in exchange for a percentage of their winnings”.

“He told me, ‘Don’t worry, even if you are tested, you just send me the number of your test results and I’ll sort it, so you can sleep soundly’,” she says.

But at a race meeting on the River Volga in 2009 she came across one person in the system who wasn’t prepared to turn a blind eye. Vitaly Stepanov was an idealistic young officer employed by Rusada, Russia’s anti-doping agency.

A dirty athlete and a crusader for clean sport made an unlikely combination. At first she mocked him for his naivety. She told him that all her fellow athletes were doping and that his agency, far from tackling the abuse, often helped to cover it up.

The couple got married just two months after their first date. Despite their differences and frequent rows over Stepanova’s continued doping, they stuck together. Eventually, though, she got a two year suspension after irregularities were detected in her biological passport.

Stepanova could have kept a low profile, continue to cash her pay cheques and, after the ban, return to the national team. Instead she decided to write a 10-page confession about everything she had done and witnessed. She sent it to the World Anti-Doping Agency, but her letter was ignored, like those that her husband had previously written. She realised she needed more proof.

So she began secretly taping her coaches, her doctor and fellow athletes on her mobile phone.

The recordings, in which several people discuss their use of illegal drugs, were given to a German filmmaker. Before his documentary aired in November 2014 the Stepanovs fled their country.

The explosive material Stepanova collected set off a chain of investigations which ultimately led to a ban on the entire Russian track and field team from the Rio Olympic Games. While her whistleblowing has earned her praise in much of the world, in Russia many call her a traitor.

After a few months in Germany the Stepanovs moved to the US. Not surprisingly she doesn’t want me to name the place where I interviewed her.

She now fears for her life and doubts she will ever be able to return home. Her anxiety increased this summer after her electronic account at the World Anti-Doping Agency was hacked revealing her whereabouts and forcing her to move to another location.

Until recently the Stepanovs have had virtually no support or money to help them rebuild their lives. But Yuliya has few regrets.

“I don’t consider myself a traitor, I didn’t reveal any scientific secrets,” she says.

“I simply revealed the shameful truth, which our country doesn’t want to confront, and the only reason I told the truth about it all, was to try and put a stop to it.”

Lucy Ash | BBC News

Dec 10 16

Russian doping : McLaren report says more than 1,000 athletes implicated

by ZwemZa
The report's author, Richard McLaren (centre), said doping took place on 'an unprecedented scale' (PA)

The report’s author, Richard McLaren (centre), said doping took place on ‘an unprecedented scale’ (PA)

More than 1,000 Russians – including Olympic medallists – benefited from a state-sponsored doping programme between 2011 and 2015, a report claims.

At least 30 sports, including football, covered up samples, the report says.

“It was a cover-up that evolved from uncontrolled chaos to an institutionalised and disciplined medal-winning conspiracy,” said the report’s author, Richard McLaren.

Lawyer McLaren said London 2012 was “corrupted on an unprecedented scale”.

The report also implicates medallists at the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow, and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

According to the report, salt and coffee were used to manipulate Russian samples.

The report added the system was refined over the course of the 2012 Olympics, 2013 Worlds and Winter Olympics to protect likely Russian medal winners.

Russia won 72 medals at the London Games, 21 of which were gold, and 33 medals at Sochi, 13 of which were gold.

McLaren’s second report added depth and supporting evidence to the initial findings published in July – that Russia operated a state-sponsored doping programme.

That first report was met with denials from Russia and calls for more proof from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Writing in his latest report, McLaren says: “The desire to win medals superseded their collective moral and ethical compass and Olympic values of fair play.”

He said international sports competitions had been “unknowingly hijacked by the Russians” and sports fans have been “deceived” for years.

“It is time that stops,” he added.

In a statement, Russia’s sports ministry said it would examine the report but insisted on “the absence of a state programme of support for doping sport”. It said it would “continue to fight doping from a position of zero tolerance”.

Russian MP Dmitry Svishchev, who is also the head of Russia’s Curling Federation, was quoted by Ria Novosti news agency as saying: “This is what we expected. There’s nothing new, only empty allegations against all of us. If you are Russian, you’ll get accused of every single sin.”

When asked for a reaction to those comments, McLaren said: “I would say read the report. Its findings are not challengeable. He is reacting in a vacuum because he has not read the report.”

The new report also found:

  • At the Sochi Games, two Russian female ice hockey players had male urine samples.
  • A total of 15 Russian medal winners at London 2012 were implicated [10 medals have since been taken away].
  • The samples of 12 medal-winning athletes at Sochi 2014 had evidence of tampering.
  • Six winners of 21 Paralympic medals at Sochi had their samples tampered with.
  • Emails were found asking for instructions from the Russian Ministry of Sport on what to do with a positive sample – save or quarantine?
  • Spreadsheets were found containing lists of athletes whose samples had been saved.
  • A clean urine bank was kept in Moscow.
  • A cocktail of drugs – known as the “Duchess” – with a very short detection window was developed to assist athletes in evading doping.
  • Salt and instant coffee granules were added to clean urine samples to match the appearance of the positive samples.
  • Three samples at Sochi had salt readings that were physiologically impossible.

Investigators have published a searchable database of all the non-confidential evidence they have gathered here.

The full report can be read here.

How urine sample swapping worked

The first McLaren report explained how disappearing positive drug tests were secreted through “mouse holes” drilled by spies.

That was based on information received from Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, a director of the anti-doping laboratory at Sochi 2014.

He had said the Russian secret service developed ways of opening sample bottles and replacing their contents without intervention being detected.

doping flow chart

The new report claims to have compiled clear details on exactly how the sample bottles in Sochi were tampered with.

Investigators used a tool which matched the description of one used by the FSB (Russian Federal Security Service), which leaves tiny marks and scratches when the inside of a cap is opened.

An expert was given 13 bottles, one of which had not been tampered with, which he immediately spotted.

In cases of alleged sample swapping, investigators found there were scratches and marks on the inside of the cap, along with DNA inconsistencies.


BBC sports editor Dan Roan

Once again the gory details of Russian state-sponsored cheating have been laid bare by Professor Richard McLaren.

The difference now is those claims have been backed up with concrete evidence.

Some of the details really do defy belief, and the fact the Russian government is so strongly implicated will inevitably lead to calls for Russian athletes to be banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics, and perhaps even for the 2018 football World Cup to be taken away from the country.

Reaction – ‘hugely significant’

The IOC said the report showed “there was a fundamental attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and on sport in general”.

It said it would re-analyse all 254 urine samples collected from Russian athletes at Sochi 2014.

UK Anti-Doping chief executive Nicole Sapstead said the report was “hugely significant for sport and those who fight to keep it clean”.

She added: “Everyone engaged in sport needs to ensure that the right processes, sanctions and safeguards are in place to protect everyone’s right to clean, fair and honest sport.”

She also called for more funding to support investigations.

Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency said the Russian Olympic Committee should be suspended, and no sporting events should be held in the country until “all the individuals who participated in the corruption are held accountable”.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) described the report’s findings as “unprecedented and astonishing”, adding: “They strike right at the heart of the integrity and ethics of sport.”

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the body that governs world athletics, said: “It is time that this manipulation stops.” It said it will take further action once it is able to examine the latest report.

British marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe said Russia had committed a “huge fraud”. She added: “We need to know this cannot happen ever again.”

Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, told BBC Radio 5 live: “This is a reminder that, along with all those high points in sport, there is a very dark side. It’s depressing and it’s slightly soul-destroying that it’s on this scale.”

Paralympic table tennis champion Will Bayley said: “I do have compassion for the athletes. Because if they were forced into it, and they are never going to be able to compete in the sport that they love, then that’s really sad.”

UK sports minister Tracey Crouch said: “The sheer scale of what has been uncovered underlines just how much more needs to be done.

“We will continue to assist on this front, including in Russia, where UK Anti-Doping is assisting Wada by managing a testing programme that we hope will lead to Russia becoming compliant with the Wada.”

What is the reaction in Russia?

Stanislav Pozdnyakov, vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee, told state news agency R-Sport the report contains “nothing new”.

He said Russian athletes “should train calmly” for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Igor Lebedev, deputy speaker of the Russian parliament and a member of the executive committee of the Russian Football Federation, said: “This is yet another torrent of lies, disinformation, rumours and fables.”

Natalia Gart, president of the Russian Luge Federation, said: “Where are the facts? You can say this is nothing but rubbish… I am convinced that all of our athletes are clean and the silver medals that we won at Sochi are well deserved.”

What is Russia doing about doping?

The Russian Investigations Committee – the country’s main anti-corruption body – continues to investigate criminal cases that have been launched.

The committee says 60 athletes have so far been questioned.

Senior officials from Russia’s sports ministry, its anti-doping agency and the Russian Athletics Federation are also said to have been questioned.

On Wednesday, Russia’s anti-doping agency (Rusada) appointed former double Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva to chair its new board.

The move was questioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), which said Rusada broke an agreement it would be consulted before any appointment was made.

Isinbayeva, 34, was strongly critical of Wada’s recommendation that all Russian athletes be banned from Rio 2016.

McLaren was asked whether Russians athletes could be trusted in the future.

He said: “I think the answer to that is yes but they need to reform themselves. I’ve spoken with many Russian officials since July and they are putting together a very comprehensive programme which, if implemented properly, will make a major difference.”

What could happen next?

Wada says it will now pass evidence on Russian athletes’ doping to the relevant international sporting federations and governing bodies.

In a news conference on Thursday, IOC president Thomas Bach said the McLaren report’s findings would be taken up by two further commissions.

Only once those commissions had made their recommendations could the IOC decide what steps to take, he said.

“As soon as we have the report it will be handed over to the two commissions, who have already undertaken preparatory work,” Bach said.

“But if you ask me for my private opinion then personally if you have an athlete being part of such a manipulation system, clearly I would not like to see this person compete again.”

More on the IOC’s two commissions

  • The IOC says its ‘Inquiry Commission’, chaired by former president of Switzerland Samuel Schmid, will address the “institutional conspiracy across summer and winter sports athletes” with particular regard to Sochi 2014.
  • Its ‘Disciplinary Commission’, chaired by IOC member Denis Oswald, will address “doping and manipulation of samples concerning the Russian athletes who participated at Sochi 2014”.

What has already been done?

In May, McLaren was tasked by Wada with investigating allegations of doping in Russia.

He published the first part of his report – stating Russia operated a state-sponsored doping programme from 2011 – in July.

As a result, Wada recommended all Russian athletes be banned from competing from the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.

But the IOC chose not to impose a blanket ban, instead leaving decisions on whether Russians could compete to individual sporting federations.

Russia eventually took 271 athletes from an original entry list of 389 competitors to August’s Olympic Games in Rio.

However, the IPC chose to ban the nation entirely from the Paralympics in September.

Last week, the IAAF has decided to extend Russia’s ban from international competitions.

BBC Sport


Dec 9 16

Salt, coffee used to manipulate Russian samples – report

by ZwemZa
The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London will play host to the publication of the second McLaren Report, which is expected to include further revelations of state-sponsored doping in Russia ©St Pancras

The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London played host to the publication of the second McLaren Report, which is expected to include further revelations of state-sponsored doping in Russia ©St Pancras

More than 1 000 Russian athletes in about 30 sports took part in an “institutional conspiracy” to use banned drugs at the Sochi and London Olympics and other global events, doping investigator Richard Mclaren said Friday.

International sport had been “hijacked” by the Russians, according to the Canadian lawyer who has previously accused Russia of “state-sponsored” cheating.

He said in his new report for the World Anti-Doping Agency that he had confirmed the switching of samples at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 and that salt and coffee was used to manipulate samples when checked by international experts.

More than 1 000 athletes in the summer and winter Olympics and Paralympics “can be identified as being involved in or benefiting from manipulations to conceal positive testing,” the report said.

Information on 695 summer and winter Olympic athletes had been sent to sports federations. He gave no names but said “well known and elite level athletes” had tests declared to WADA “falsified”.

“A cover-up that evolved over the years from uncontrolled chaos to an institutionalised and disciplined medal-winning strategy and conspiracy,” McLaren said as he introduced his report.

McLaren’s report said the doping started in about 2011 but the sports ministry under Vitaly Mutko, now a deputy prime minister, took control from 2012 fearing that the cheating would be detected.

“An institutional conspiracy existed across summer and winter sports athletes who participated with Russian officials within the ministry of sport and its infrastructure,” said McLaren.

“These activities were supported by senior Russian officials, including the minister and deputy minister of sport.”

Mutko, who has denied any involvement, was not personally named. He was barred from going to the Rio Olympics by the International Olympic Committee in August but has since been promoted by President Vladimir Putin.

Asked his reaction to Mutko’s promotion, McLaren said “No I am not surprised.”

“For years, international sports competitions have unknowingly been hijacked by the Russians,” he told a press conference.

“Coaches and athletes have been competing on an uneven field. Sports fans and spectators have been deceived.”

McLaren said Russian officials could be trusted “but they need to reform themselves”.

The system was “refined” in the buildup to the 2012 London Olympics and then further for the 2013 Universiade, the world athletics championships in Moscow in 2013 and particularly for the 2014 Sochi Games.

Russia won 24 golds, 26 silvers and 32 bronze medals in London with no failed tests at the time.

He said there was evidence that the “washout” of samples before London was taking part on a weekly basis in at least athletics and weightlifting.

“The Russian team corrupted the London Games on an unprecedented scale.”

McLaren’s first report, released in July, led to more than 110 Russian athletes being banned from the Rio Olympics but also caused a major rift between the IOC and WADA.

He said this infighting has got to end to be able to tackle global doping.

The report is a huge new blow to Russia, which is already battling to get back into the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) because of an earlier inquiry.

Russia has said the earlier McLaren report lacked detail and needed more investigation.

New Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov, a former Olympic champion fencer, said on Thursday that the country had “declared war” against doping. There are many doubters over Russian efforts however.

The IAAF and WADA are keeping to their suspension of Russia, meaning the country may not be able to compete at the world athletics championships in August.

WADA president Craig Reedie said last month that Russia was a long way off returning to the global body.

Anti-doping officials have complained about a lack of access to closed cities where athletes are training and also to a Moscow laboratory where samples sought by international sporting federations are kept.

Athletes from Russia and other East European states have dominated the list of cheats caught in new tests on 1 243 samples taken at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics.

Tennis star Maria Sharapova has been among a host of Russians ordered banned because of doping failures over the past 18 months.

IOC medical director Richard Budgett said Wednesday that there is more bad news to come from the London tests which are not yet finished.

“There will be many more to come in the coming weeks and months,” Budgett warned without saying which countries were involved.

Dec 9 16

Last round of aQuellé Ocean Racing Series for 2016 on Sunday

by ZwemZa


Sunday sees the last round of the popular aQuellé Ocean Racing Series for 2016 as Round 5 takes place at Hobie Beach from 9am. Nelson Mandela Bay unique family beach Series has lived up to it’s reputation as Africa’s largest family beach event with an average attendance of close to 500 people on race mornings this season.

“This is our 12th season and so far we’ve had a terrific start to the season despite the inclement weather,” said Series creator Michael Zoetmulder of Zsports Events NPC, “The last race day was the best of the season with regards to great weather and we’re hoping that this Sunday will deliver the same for all the families who support the Series.”

What makes the Series unique around the World is the offering of no fewer than 7 events which all take place at the same time. For the open water swimmers, there are 4 swim events to choose, these being a 400m, 1km, 2km or 3km swim whilst for those referring to stay on the sand the Series offers a scenic 5km Beach Run, 5km Beach Walk or, for children 12 years and under, a 1km Beach Run/Walk. The latter continuing to proof very popular with children as young as 1 year taking part.

The aQuellé Ocean Racing Series takes place on mostly alternate Sunday morning’s throughout Summer at Hobie Beach and after this Sunday it will return for another 5 races in 2017 starting on Sunday 8th January. Sundays races start at 9am with registration at the beach from 7.30am and followed by prize giving from 10am with all participants in the Kids 1km Beach Run getting finishers medals. See on how your family can get involved and join them at Hobie Beach for round 5 this Sunday morning.


Dec 9 16

World Para Swimming announces new World Series starting in 2017

by ZwemZa
Kevin Paul celebrates after claiming gold in the 100 Breaststroke in Rio (Gallo Images)

Kevin Paul celebrates after claiming gold in the 100 Breaststroke in Rio (Gallo Images)

In 2017, a new World Para Swimming World Series will begin in an effort to further develop the sport. The World Series will be the first time athletes will get to compete in a certain circuit starting in Copenhagen, Denmark.

This development will serve as preparation for Tokyo 2020 as well as the first step before world and regional championships.

At the Rio Olympics, Para swimming hit new heights of popularity. Ryan Montgomery, IPC Summer Sports director, believe implementing a World Series circuit now is a perfect time for growth of the sport.

“At Rio 2016 Para swimming was one of the most talked about and well attended sports and we are confident that building a World Series will bring benefits for everyone with an interest in the sport,” Montgomery said in a press release Monday.

In an effort to make sure each performance is accounted for, “All athlete’s results at each World Series edition will be calculated using a standardized points system via an online virtual competition platform.  This will ensure that the overall World Para Swimming World Series winner will be the best performing athlete over the duration of the series,” Montgomery said.

The calendar of the World Series goes as follows:

  • Copenhagen 2017 World Para Swimming World Series, March 11-12
  • Sao Paulo 2017 World Para Swimming World Series, April 20-22
  • Sheffield 2017 World Para Swimming World Series, April 27-30
  • Indianapolis 2017 World Para Swimming World Series, June 9-11
  • Berlin 2017 World Para Swimming World Series, 6-9 July

The 2017  World Para Swimming Championships will later take place in Mexico City from Sept. 30 – Oct. 6.

Celia Balf | Excelle Sports

Dec 9 16

Windsor Day 3 : WR for Le Clos as Hosszu collects more gold

by ZwemZa

After establishing the WR (2:00.44) in men’s 200m breast on November 20, Marco Koch (GER) was the natural favourite for the win in the first final of the day in Windsor. The German star did not disappoint and earned his second gold of the competition (after the 100m), in a new Championships record of 2:01.21, better than Daniel Gyurta’s time of 2:01.35 in Istanbul 2012. Koch perfectly controlled the race, leaving the minor medals to Andrew Willis (GBR, 2:02.71) and Mikhail Dorinov (RUS, 2:03.09). It is the first time that a German athlete wins this event in the history of the Championships.

Meet Results

Meet Schedule

Marco Koch (GER) – Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Home crowd was expecting the first Canadian title of the competition for Penny Oleksiak, swimming in lane 5 of the women’s 100m free final. The Olympic winner in this distance seemed to be in a good position to get the good after the 50m turn (second), but had to content in the end for bronze, in a time of 52.01. The gold went to Australia’s Brittany Elmslie, also the fastest of the semis, in a winning time of 51.81. Dutch Ranomi Kromowidjojo earned silver in 51.92. The 26-year-old star from the Netherlands was the winner in 2010 and bronze medallist in 2014. Other notable Dutch swimmers in the history of this event include Marleen Veldhuis (gold in 2008) and Femke Heemskerk (world title in 2014).

Brittany Elmslie (AUS) – Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Without surprise, Katinka Hosszu (HUN), WR holder in the event and 2014 champion in Doha (QAT), won the final of the women’s 200m back in 2:00.79. The Magyar star had perfect control of the race and easily overcame her main opponents: Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina (silver, 2:02.24), the winner in 2012, and Australia’s Emily Seebohm (bronze in 2:02.65), second two years ago in the Qatari capital. It was the fourth gold medal in these Championships for Hosszu, after her previous wins in the 100m back, 200m fly and 400m IM.

Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

After winning the 200m, Chad Le Clos (RSA) was even stronger in the 100m fly, establishing the second World Record of these Championships. The South African star touched home in 48.08, improving his own mark of 48.44 set two years ago in Doha (QAT). Le Clos also managed to triumph for the third consecutive time in this event, after his victories in 2014 (48.44) and 2012 (48.82). Before him, only Lars Frölander, from Sweden, had made the treble in 1997, 1999 and 2000. Curiously, the silver medal went also for the third time in a row for Tom Shields from the USA in 49.04 – in 2014, he had clocked 48.99, while in 2012 he was slower in 49.54. The bronze in Windsor went to Australian David Morgan in 49.31.

Chad Le Clos (RSA) – Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

In the absence of Mireia Belmonte (ESP, did not start in the heats), the WR holder in 7:59.34 and 2014 champion, the duel of the night opposed the two US representatives in the final – Leah Smith and Ashley Twichell, the fastest of the preliminaries. In the end, the title (the first US victory of the day) went to Smith in a relatively slow time of 8:10.17, while her teammate Twichell touched for silver in 8:11.95. Considerably behind the leaders, Australia’s Kiah Melverton was third in 8:16.51. Katinka Hosszu, swimming in lane 2, took a training pace to finish the race in eighth, in 8:36.76.

Leah Smith (USA) – photo by Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia

The sixth final of the day, the mixed 4x50m medley relay, was a fierce battle between USA and Brazil. The North Americans are the WR holders in the event (1:37.17), while the 2016 Olympic hosts came to Windsor trying to defend their 2014 title. USA was better this time, touching for gold in a new Championships record of 1:37.22 – Brazilians had won two years ago in 1:37.26. The South Americans got the silver in 1:37.74, while Japan, initially fourth, benefitted from Italy’s disqualification and got the bronze in 1:38.45. The tactics of USA and Brazil were totally different for this race: while the winners chose the man-woman-woman-man formula, the silver medallists went on a woman-man-man-woman combination.

USA Relay – photo by Giorgio Scala


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