Russia backs swimmer Rylov after US rival's doping allegations

The Russian team is not allowed to use the Russian anthem or flag at Tokyo 2020 over accusations of state-sponsored doping.

Russian swimmer Evgeny Rylov. Picture: @Olympics/Twitter.

MOSCOW - The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) on Friday mounted a robust defence of swimmer Evgeny Rylov after his beaten US opponent Ryan Murphy cast doubt on the Russian's victory in the 200m backstroke in Tokyo.

Murphy, who finished second to Ryblov as the Russian picked up his second gold of the Games, said the race was "probably not clean".

Rylov, 24, said he was "surprised" by the American's "strange" comments.

The Russian team is not allowed to use the Russian anthem or flag at Tokyo 2020 over accusations of state-sponsored doping, but over 330 Russian athletes are allowed to compete under the name of the Russian Olympic Committee.

"How unnerving our victories are for some of our colleagues," ROC wrote on its Twitter account on Friday.

"Yes, we are here, at the Olympics, we have every right. Whether some people like it or not," it added.

"The broken record is again playing the song about Russia doping," ROC said.

ROC also referred to "English-language propaganda that is oozing verbal sweat in the Tokyo heat through the mouths of athletes offended by defeats".

"We will not console you. We will forgive those who are weaker. God is their judge and for us - a helper," ROC said.

Speaking to the Russian RIA Novosti news agency, the acting director of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) insisted Rylov was clean before heading to the Olympics.

"We tested this athlete three times in 2021. He is also in the international pool, so the international federation is testing him too," Mikhail Bukhanov said.

He added, however, that RUSADA'S "responsibility ends at the moment the samples are taken."

"The athletes are responsible for everything that goes into their bodes," Bukhanov added.

Rylov wrote on Instagram that he spoke with Murphy after the press conference and was confident the comments were "a misunderstanding".

"We both advocate that sport should be clean," he said.

The Russian's victory ended American dominance in the event, which had seen them claim gold in the men's 200m backstroke at each of the last six Olympic Games.

It also added to Rylov's own impressive collection in Tokyo. He picked up a silver medal in the men's 4x200m relay to go with his two backstroke golds in the 100m and 200m.

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