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Russian female biathlete suspended over alleged doping use

January 30, 2014, 19:48 UTC+3 30
Irina Starykh, who was included in the roster of the Russian Olympic squad for the upcoming Winter Games in Sochi, said she made the decision to temporarily leave
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Irina Starykh

Irina Starykh

© ITAR-TASS/Valery Sharifulin

MOSCOW, January 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian biathlete Irina Starykh has informed the Russian Biathlon Union on Thursday that she was one of the three athletes suspected of doping use and asked the union to provisionally remove her from the national squad.

The International Biathlon Union (IBU) announced on Wednesday that A samples of three biathletes representing Russia and Lithuania tested positive for banned substance. The union did not name the athletes, who still have to undergo B samples, and temporarily suspended them from sports competitions.

“I have received a notification from the IBU that one of my samples tested positive,” Starykh said in her letter addressed to the Russian Biathlon Union. “This news was totally unexpected for me. I sincerely regret that the incident involves my name.”

“I have immediately agreed for B sample test since I believe that all developments around me are a mistake,” she said. “However, I consider it unacceptable to be in the [national] team until the investigation is over.”

Starykh, who was included in the roster of the Russian Olympic squad for the upcoming Winter Games in Sochi, said she made the decision to temporarily leave because she did not want to “cast a shadow on the team” until the final doping test results were announced.

“I am in a complicated situation and believe it is necessary to inform about my decision to leave the team for an indefinite period,” she said.

The Russian Biathlon Union, which on Wednesday met in extraordinary session to discuss the alleged doping use by Russian biathletes, met her request and removed Starykh from the team.

Besides Starykh, the 2014 Olympic team of Russia’s female biathletes, trained by German manager Wolfgang Pichler, originally consisted of Olga Zaitseva, Olga Vilukhina, Ekaterina Shumilova, Yana Romanova and Ekaterina Glazyrina.

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