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Russia’s Cross Country Ski Federation to turn to courts after Rodchenkov’s new testimony

April 27, 15:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Russian Cross Country Ski Federation intends to turn to European courts over suspensions of Russian athletes following recent statements made by former head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory

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Alexander Legkov

Alexander Legkov

© AP Photo/Lehtikuva, Heikki Saukkomaa

MOSCOW, April 27. /TASS/. The Russian Cross Country Ski Federation intends to turn to European courts over suspensions of Russian athletes following recent statements made by former head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov, Yelena Vyalbe, the president of the national federation, told TASS on Friday.

"We are expecting court’s rulings regarding all of our athletes in order to take further steps," Vyalbe said in an interview with TASS. "We are particularly concerned with cases of our three athletes, who have not been cleared of accusations (Yulia Ivanova, Yulia Chekalova and Anastasia Dotsenko)."

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland’s Lausanne published on April 23 the full text of its verdicts on the appeals from Russian cross country skier Alexander Legkov (his appeal was upheld) and Russian bobsledder Alexander Zubkov (his appeal was partially upheld).

According to the published document, Rodchenkov said in his testimony that he never personally gave to any of Russian athletes the so-called Duchess cocktail and never saw them consuming this banned performance enhancing drug.

Rodchenkov also said that he could not verify personally that Russian athletes participated in the alleged scheme of tampering with collected doping samples. He added that he was never present during the collection of clean urine doping samples and never saw or heard of Russian athletes and coaches receiving orders to consume Duchess cocktail.

"It is clear that we are not going to stop and we will turn to European courts," Vyalbe said. "Moreover, we now have to take into account the fact that the key witness turned out not to be a witness of anything."

Whistleblower Rodchenkov and his doping allegations

Rodchenkov told Western media in the spring of 2016 that Russian athletes largely used performance enhancing drugs at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi with the approval of the national sports authorities.

On the whole, the ex-doping official claimed that the Russian sports authorities allegedly prepared a special doping program for national athletes in order to win most of the medals at home Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014.

The former chief of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory also gave WADA last year what he said was a list of athletes who on the eve of the 2014 Winter Olympics allegedly had used a doping cocktail that he concocted and named after a popular Soviet-era soft drink, ‘Duchess Cocktail.’

On June 8, 2016, Russia’s Investigative Committee launched a criminal case against Rodchenkov on charges of power abuse. On September 21, 2017 Moscow’s Basmanny District Court arrested him in absentia.

In November 2017, the Russian Investigative Committee announced that it would seek the extradition of Rodchenkov, who absconded to the United States in 2015. In addition, an obstruction of justice charges was filed against him. He was also put on the international wanted list.

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