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World Body To Probe Report Of Widespread Doping In Russian Swimming

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will investigate allegations of widespread doping in Russian swimming reported by the British newspaper The Times on March 23.

The Times said that "systematic" doping and cover-ups took place for years in Russian swimming.

The report said sports doctor Sergei Portugalov, who WADA wants banned for life for his role in pushing doping in Russian athletics that it exposed in November, was also promoting performance-enhancing drugs among Russian swimmers.

Russian athletics was banned from global competition after WADA's November report.

"There is no doubt that today's disturbing assertions of orchestrated doping in Russian swimming should be scrutinized," WADA President Craig Reedie said.

WADA wrote swimming's governing body FINA, saying it was particularly "concerned by the allegations that...Portugalov...may be working in swimming."

FINA said it had no "concrete evidence" of systematic doping in Russia and called on The Times to share its evidence. It pledged to investigate allegations "substantiated by evidence."

The Times cited Russian swimmers whose positive tests for a banned hormone in 2009 were covered up, and said swim coaches were aware of open distribution of drugs in Russia but were afraid to talk.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

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