Brazil's preparations for the world swimming championships in Shanghai later this month have been thrown into chaos after their star turn, Cesar Cielo, tested positive for the banned diuretic, furosemide.
Cielo, the reigning world 50 and 100-metre freestyle champion and also the current Olympic gold medallist in the 50m freestyle, was among four swimmers who tested positive for furosemide at the national championships in May.
The Brazilian swimming federation announced Friday it had issued the 24-year-old Cielo with a warning, hinting at contamination of a vitamin supplement he had taken, and sent all related documentation to the sport's world governing body, the Federation Internationale de Natation (Fina). The federation also temporarily cancelled his results from May's national championships, at which he won five golds and one silver and set a tournament record.
Cielo called the positive "an isolated case" but Cornel Marculescu, the Fina director general, warned they would look closely at the facts.
"We'll examine all elements [and] either we agree with the Brazilian federation's decision, or not, and we appeal before CAS [Court of Arbitration for Sport]," Marculescu said. Fina now has 30 days from the reception of the case to act.
Three other swimmers, Nicholas dos Santos, Henrique Barbosa and Vinicius Waked, also tested positive for furosemide, included on World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) list of banned drugs because of its ability to be used to mask other drugs, notably anabolic steroids.
One of Cielo's biggest rivals, Alain Bernard of France, dubbed the news "bad for world swimming" and added "I'm surprised, like everyone. At first view, the Brazilian federation's sanction seems rather light."
Bernard also said he was a "fervent supporter of stepping up anti-doping controls ahead of the Olympic Games in London".The Brazilian federation spokesman said that the four swimmers initially explained that they had taken a vitamin supplement "but for some reason the last ingestion of this supplement was contaminated by furosemide".