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IBSF Suspends four Russian Skeleton Athletes as IOC Opens Anti-Doping Investigations

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The Russian bobsleigh and skeleton national teams will not be boycotting the 2017 World Championships according to Alexander Zubkov, the president of the Russian Bobsleigh Federation. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure, AFP

The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) has provisionally suspended four Russian athletes after they were informed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that investigations into alleged anti-doping rule violations from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games have been opened.

The athletes, all from the skeleton discipline, and the Russian Bobsleigh Federation have been informed about the provisional suspension.

In accordance with the provisions of WADA the IBSF is not in a position to communicate the athletes´names before the proceedings have been concluded.

However, Russian website R-Sport has reported it is Elena Nikitina, Olga Potylitsina, Maria Orlova and Aleksandr Tretyakov who have been suspended, citing a source “familiar with the situation.”

Russia won two skeleton medals at Sochi 2014.

Tretyakov won gold in the men’s event while Nikitina took bronze in the women’s competition.

Of the six athletes to represent Russia in skeleton at Sochi 2014, four were listed in the McLaren report which suggested that more than 1,000 Russian athletes were implicated in state sponsored doping.

Nikitina, Potylitsina, Orlova and Sergei Chudinov were all listed in the findings of McLaren, but have yet to be found guilty of any wrongdoing.

Nikita Tregubov was the sixth member of the Sochi 2014 Russian skeleton team, but has not been named in any report.

“It has been a hard time for all of us in sports after the publication of the McLaren Report,” said IBSF President Ivo Ferriani in a statement on the governing body’s website.

“The IBSF is fully committed to ensure all necessary steps will be taken to gain back the integrity of sport – this will require joint efforts by all stakeholders.

“The Russian Bobsleigh Federation confirmed its full support to clarify the matter related to the allegations.”

Meanwhile the President of the Russian Bobsleigh Federation (RBF), Alexander Zubkov, has expressed his discontent at the decision in an interview with the TASS Russian news agency.

“We have received information from the international federation that four Russian skeleton racers had been provisionally suspended,” Zubkov said.

“We are currently in intensive talks with President Ferriani.

“We disagree with this decision and we will be protecting our rights.”

Evidence published in the McLaren report suggested that more than 1,000 Russian athletes were implicated in state sponsored doping, including medal winners in sliding sports at Sochi 2014.

Since the second part of the McLaren Report was published, high profile events have been taken away from Russia.

These include the IBSF World Championships, which were due to take place in Sochi in February.

The championships will now take place in Königssee in Germany.

The IBSF Executive Committee duly felt that “during this difficult time it is prudent not to organise such an event in Russia.”

By Max Winters

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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