3 March 2021

Bulgarian swimming would have ‘protected’ swimmers from tests

A recording obtained by bTV appears to feature Georgi Avramchev (Георги Аврамчев), Chairman of the the Bulgarian swimming federation (BFPS), telling three young swimmers that he would have protected them from tests if he knew there was a danger that they would report adverse analytical findings (AAFs). As previously reported, three young swimmers who reported AAFs for stanozolol on 4 February claimed that they were given pills by the BFPS at a training camp.

It is understood that the below recording is from a 25 February meeting between Avramchev, the three swimmers concerned, and their parents. The swimmers are Zdravko Bablakov (Здравко Баблаков), Svetlozar Nikolov (Светлозар Николов), and Blagoy Panayotov (Благой Панайотов). Avramchev’s comments can be heard from 1:30 onwards.

“Do you think that if we had given you something – I mean doping – we would let you take the test?” Avramchev allegedly says. “We could have hidden you. We talk to each other. Is that not so? You’re inside the team so you know this.” 

Avramchev initially told bTV that he didn’t say such things and couldn’t hide the swimmers from being tested. He later admitted that the voice was his, but said that the recording was edited and his comments were out of context. He also maintains that the whole situation is an attempt to sabotage the BFPS, and said he would provide all the pills given to swimmers to the country’s anti-doping agency.

It is understood that Avramchev has instructed all Bulgaria’s swimmers to undergo mass testing on 8 March. The three young swimmers also told bTV that national team coach Kristian Minkovski (Кристиян Минковски) had asked them for 30% of any bonuses they earned. Avramchev denied that this is BFPS policy, and pledged to investigate. 

Article 2.9 of the World Anti-Doping Code…

As bTV points out, Article 6(9) of Bulgaria’s anti-doping ordinance mandates that ‘assisting, incitement, aiding, abetting, concealment or any other type of intentional complicity or an attempt at complicity by an athlete or another person, involving a violation or attempted violation of the anti-doping rules’ is to be considered as an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV). This is copied directly from Article 2.9 of the World Anti-Doping Code (see right).

The Sports Integrity Initiative has informed the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) about the ongoing situation. It has yet to comment.

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