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(Reuters) - Swimming's world governing body (FINA) said sport's highest court has rejected an appeal from Uzbekistan's federation over its decision to invalidate results from two Olympic qualification meets and that it may now impose sanctions.
FINA said in June it had received evidence some results from the Uzbekistan Open Swimming Cup (Nov. 24-29, 2020) and Uzbekistan Open Swimming Championships (April 13-17, 2021) had been "manipulated".
Swimming World magazine reported that the timings which were removed from FINA's rankings belonged to Aleksey Tarasenko (100m freestyle) and Adilbek Yusupboev and Eldor Usmonov (both 100m butterfly), who achieved qualifying marks.
The Uzbekistan Swimming Federation lodged an appeal against FINA's decision but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) turned it down.
"Following this CAS award, the FINA Ethics Panel will now investigate whether further sanctions should be imposed on the Uzbekistan Swimming Federation and any other implicated party," FINA said in a statement https://www.fina.org/news/2185442/fina-media-statement-cas-award-on-uzb-results.
"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 cannot accept a lesser standard."
Swimming's global body also thanked whistleblowers "for their courage in reporting this nefarious behaviour".
Indian swimmer Likith Selvaraj Prema alleged manipulation of times in favour of certain Uzbek swimmers at the April meeting in a video posted on YouTube, prompting FINA to act.
Two Uzbekistan swimmers - Vladislav Mustafin and Ranohon Amanova - competed at the Rio Games 2016. The country has never won an Olympic medal in the sport.
The Tokyo Games begin on July 23.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)