MOSCOW, December 22. /TASS/. It was wrong to pass a decision of relocation of international biathlon competitions originally assigned to Russia under the pressure from foreign athletes, Russian Minister of Sport Pavel Kolobkov told TASS on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, the International Biathlon Union (IBU) said in a statement that the Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) announced its decision to refrain from hosting the 2017 World Cup in Tyumen and 2017 Youth Championship in Ostrov. Apart from that, the IBU Executive Board decided to open formal investigations against the Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) and 29 athletes listed in the McLaren Report 2. It also imposed provisional suspensions upon two athletes, as a consequence of the opening of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Disciplinary Proceedings.
"I am confident that it is wrong to pass such decisions under the pressure from athletes from a number of foreign countries. It is a process that will inevitably tell on those who passed such decisions and those who exerted pressure to this effect. Sport must be above such unfair decisions passed under pressure and threats of boycotts," he said.
"We are disappointed at such decision. I think it was ungrounded. Biathlon is a favorite sport in Russia. Russian fans have been waiting for these competitions, Russia has been preparing for them. Foreigners like visiting Russia as we can offer a high level of organization. Some were doubtful about doping control procedures (at competitions hosted by Russia), but it met the highest standards," Kolobkov said.
"It is an ungrounded decision passed under pressure. We will get back to this matter soon and our federation will continue negotiations," the minister said.