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SOCHI, February 9. /ITAR-TASS/. Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby admitted he had pushed Russia’s Maxim Vylegzhanin at the finish line of men’s 30 skiathlon race. Sundby finished in the 3rd place, leaving Vylegzhanin behind in the 4th position.
Olympic review board has turned down a petition by the Russian team over the results of Sunday’s event in men’s skiathlon.
Yelena Vyalbe, the chief coach of the Russian team said the managers of the team are now considering an appeal, which they will file with the International Ski Federation (FIS).
The protest was filed over the outcome in a relay race, in which the Russian racer Maxim Vylegzhanin took the first place losing 0.1. bronze to Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway, who got bronze as a result.
The Russian team complained that Sundby had cut up Vylegzhanin at the very end of the finishing gate in the 30 km race. One-tenth of a second might have been lost to the Norwegian precisely because of his maneuver, the petition said.
In the meantime, team manager Yuri Charkovsky said the Russian side is ready to go as far as the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.
In line with regulations, an appeal with the CAS should be filed within 48 hours.
Maxim Vylegzhanin believes that Martin Sundby did not have the right to cross the dividing line between the finish lanes.
“Those who watched the race will understand me,” he said. “When you are in the finish corridor you can’t cross the division lines. I think Sundby wasn’t right. He got in my way at the very finish line.”
“I don’t know whether or not I’d be a winner in the final run but it’s a proven fact anyway that he did hinder me,” Vylegzhanin said.
He added along with it that he was not going to harbor malice at Sundby. “I’m confident in my own strength anyway and I’m ready to fight to the very end,” he said.
Martin Sundby said he had learned about the protest on behalf of the Russian team only after he had been invited to the referees’ room.
Martin confessed that he suddenly felt overtired when he was approaching the finish and he couldn’t see practically anything at the last meters of the race. Because of this overtiredness, he lost balance in the finish corridor and, quite possibly, veered into the ski run, in which Maxim was moving.
Martin admitted that this was bad enough but he claimed the photofinish was showing quite obviously he had been well ahead of Maxim and he had veered into the neighboring corridor only at the last few meters of the race and that is why he did not think he could interfere with the Russian skier’s results in any way.
He said he did not have a habit of hindering the fellow-athletes running next to him and he hope Maxim would believe him.