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Popov Critical Of CAS On Cielo Ruling

Jul 24, 2012  - Craig Lord

Sprint Tsar Alex Popov, a Russian member of the International Olympic Committee, has openly criticised the way the doping case surrounding Cesar Cielo and three Brazil teammates was handled last year.

Athletes, Popov told a Brazilian paper at an IOC session in London, "were not satisfied with what happened". Cielo, Olympic 50m freestyle champion, retained the dash world crown in Shanghai in the wake of an eve-of-championships Court of Arbitration ruling - the panel flown to China to deliberate - that reinforced the warning given by the Confederação Brasileira de Desportos Aquáticos after tests returned positive.

FINA challenged the warning and called for a six-month suspension after Cielo and three training partners tested positive for a banned diuretic. CAS sided with Cielo and Co on the basis of lawyer Howard Jacobs' case that cross-contaminationss at a laboratory had been to blame.

The lab that had made a caffeine-based food supplement for the swimmers at first denied that it handled the substance in question but contrary evidence was offered to CAS. Cielo said the truth had prevailed and went on to tale two world titles, the 50m free and 'fly.

But at an IOC session, Popov, the only man ever to retain both the 50m and 100m freestyle Olympic titles (1992-96) and now involved in readying the Olympic movement for the 2016 Games in Rio, told the Brazilian paper O Estado that the case continued to annoy the wider world of swimming.

Popov told the paper: "I didn't like what happened in Shanghai. It wasn't correct. There's  still something very strange about that story." He added that while one had to respect the decisions of bodies such as CAS, he added: But, once again, the right thing wasn't done."

Asked about the laboratory's position and acceptance of blame, Popov said: "That's just nonsense. Real nonsense. Many swimmers were unsatisfied with what happened. They didn't like the decision taken at all."