Irish swimmer Fiona Doyle just missed out on a place in the semi-final of the 100m breaststroke at the Olympics yesterday, finishing .26 seconds outside the time needed to progress.
To add insult to injury, her heat was won by Russian Yulia Efimova, who tested positive for meldonium earlier this year. She has also previously served a 16-month ban after testing positive for anabolic steroids.
There were some boos when she won the heat and afterwards Doyle expressed anger at her inclusion at the Games.
“Cheaters are cheaters,” Doyle told the Irish Times. “She (Efimova) has tested positive five times and she’s gotten away with it again. It’s like FINA keep going back on their word, and the IOC keep going back on their word."
Efimova was initially banned from competing in Rio but given permission by swimming’s governing body FINA after an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“And FINA caved in to (Vladimir) Putin, and that’s just not fair on the rest of the athletes who are clean,” Doyle added.
“Who are you supposed to trust now? They have signs all over the village saying we are a clean sport, and it’s not. And I just don’t think that’s fair.”
The Limerick swimmer was visibly devastated after the heat, unable to hold back tears as she spoke to the media.
“Honestly, coming eighth in my heat, and when only 16 go through, I knew I straightaway I probably hadn’t made it. I just went out to give it my all, knowing you only get one shot at this.”
Doyle competes again on Wednesday in the 200m breaststroke, but the 100m was her favoured event and where she was hoping to do best.
She added: “To end up eighth is devastating, really. It’s still a good time but I knew it was going to take something even better to go through.
“I felt the best that I ever felt in the warm-up, training had gone so well, so to come away without another swim is very disappointing.”