The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected an appeal from the Uzbekistan Swimming Federation after allegations of cheating and “nefarious behaviour”.
The Uzbek body had appealed after FINA, the global swimming body, decided that it would not recognise certain results from two swimming meets held in the country as Olympic qualifying times.
After the ruling by CAS, a statement from FINA confirmed that their Ethics Panel will now be convened to decide on appropriate sanctions to levy against the Uzbekistan Swimming Federation and any other party implicated.
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“The FINA executive's decision was made after receiving evidence establishing that certain results from these two events had been manipulated by the Uzbekistan Swimming Federation in an attempt to qualify Uzbek swimmers for the Tokyo Olympic Games,” said the global swimming body.
Put simply, FINA will not stand for any forms of cheating or event manipulation.
The alleged cheating occurred at two separate events held in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent: the Uzbekistan Open Swimming Cup, held in November 2020 and the Uzbekistan Open Swimming Championships, held in April of this year.
Two athletes from the double landlocked nation had apparently secured their places at Tokyo 2020 having swum the required qualifying times.
However, Indian swimmer Likith Prema alleged in a YouTube video that timings were tampered with to benefit home swimmers, and that he was offered bribes by Uzbek officials.
The statement from FINA continued: “It is imperative that FINA recognise aquatics competitions to ensure that the results are not manipulated, that the results are valid and reliable, and that the competitions comply with the standards set out in the FINA rules.
“FINA would also like to thank the whistle-blowers for their courage in reporting this nefarious behaviour.”
Uzbekistan took home 13 medals from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, including four golds, three of which came in boxing.
Two athletes, Vladislav Mustafin and Ranohon Amanova, swam in Rio for the nation, though neither advanced beyond the heats.
Last month CAS ended three-time Olympic gold medal winning freestyle swimmer Sun Yang's hopes of competing in Tokyo despite reducing his ban for doping violations from eight years to four.
It has been reported that a member of Yang's entourage smashed a container of the swimmer's blood samples with a hammer after Yang confronted officials in 2019.
The eight-year ban had been overturned by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court but new judges found that Yang "acted recklessly", and banned him until February 2024.
The Chinese swimmer, who won two gold medals at London 2012 and another four years later, will be eligible to compete at the Paris Olympics later that year.
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