'It's impossible': Swim star lashes out at 'unfair' Olympics move

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Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova says she finds many aspects of the Tokyo Olympics unfair. Pic: Getty
Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova says she finds many aspects of the Tokyo Olympics unfair. Pic: Getty

Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova has hit out about the conditions for athletes in Tokyo, taking particular aim at the restrictions in the Olympic Village and the scheduling of events.

Efimova says the Tokyo Games are unfair due to the number of athletes ruled out because of Covid-19 and other reasons, while also criticising the fact competition has been flipped on its head to accomodate the demands of US prime time television.

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At most other Games, swimming heats would be held in the morning, with finals for those events held later in the evening.

However, due to the time zone in Japan, Games organisers have changed schedules so the preliminary rounds run in the evenings and the finals are on the following morning - to suit the massive TV audience of North America.

Efimova - now appearing in her fourth Olympics - cut a controversial figure at the 2016 Rio Games after being called a drugs cheat by American rival Lilly King, the eventual 100 metres breaststroke gold medallist.

The Russian, who was disqualified for 16 months from October 2013 to February 2015 after testing positive for an anabolic steroid won the silver medal.

The pair will race each other again in Tokyo on Tuesday in another 100m final.

Yulia Efimova slams restrictive conditions

Before that showdown, the 29-year-old Russian spoke to reporters to air her grievances about the Games in Tokyo.

"I'm upset that it's impossible to go anywhere, many athletes are suspended from competitions. This is an unfair Olympics, when not everyone can compete," she told the www.matchtv.ru website in an interview.

The 29-year-old Efimova did not spell out her reasoning but a number of athletes have been ruled out of competition after testing positive for COVID-19.

Russian athletes are also competing in Tokyo as representatives of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) because the country was stripped of its flag and anthem for doping offences.

Yulia Efimova has criticised the swimming schedule that panders to US prime time TV. Pic: Getty
Yulia Efimova has criticised the swimming schedule that panders to US prime time TV. Pic: Getty

"Unfortunately, in our world, money decides everything, and they don't pay attention to the interests of athletes," she said of the early scheduling, compared to the finals held in the late evening in Rio.

"We would have seen better results if we had the finals in the evening.

"World records would be broken. But it's also interesting because unpredictability increases (in the morning)."

Efimova said rooms in the athletes' village were small and criticised restrictions on movement.

"What annoys me the most is the gift shop that you can't go to," she said. 

"And if you go, there's already nothing left. I'd like to take home some souvenirs.

with agencies

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