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IBU Executive Board finds no grouns to suspend Russia's biathlon team

January 21, 22:53 updated at: January 21, 23:31 UTC+3

"It’s OK. There is no talking about Russian biathlon team’s suspension and the team will go on with the competitions," President of the Russian Biathlon Union Aleksandr Kravtsov said

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© EPA/KERSTIN JOENSSON

MOSCOW, January 21. /TASS/. The Executive Board of the International Biathlon Union (IBU) has found no grounds to suspend Russia’s biathlon team from competitions, President of the Russian Biathlon Union Aleksandr Kravtsov told TASS on Saturday.

"It’s OK. There is no talking about Russian biathlon team’s suspension and the team will go on with the competitions," Kravtsov said.

IBU will open a formal investigation against Russia’s Biathlon Union (RBU) over the seven cases of doping found by the WADA Independent Commission led by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren, the IBU press service said.

"The IBU will open formal investigation against the RBU," it said. "The RBU is to provide the IBU with a detailed and fully documented report with respect to the seven cases under investigation."

The IBU announced on December 15 that it had obtained a list of 31 athletes, whom the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and its Independent Commission led by Canadian sports law professor McLaren suspect of doping violations. The IBU opened formal investigations against the Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) and 29 athletes mentioned in the report and decided to bar Russian female biathletes Yana Romanova and Olga Vilukhina from international competitions.

On Saturday, the Extraordinary Executive Board meeting took place in Italy’s Anterlselva to discuss the IBU working group’s investigation into the report of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Regarding 29 athletes, whose alleged doping the IBU had been investigating, the meeting decided to further look into seven athletes. Thus, an investigation into cases of the other 22 Russian biathletes was closed due to lack of sufficient evidence.

Russian Match TV channel’s presenter Dmitry Guberniyev, who was present at the meeting, said that the IBU Executive Board would release its final ruling on the WADA Independent Commission’s report approximately on February 9.

"We keep competing until the coast is clear! On February 9, a meeting of the IBU Executive Board is scheduled and then decisions might be taken. Our friends from the US and the Czech Republic are displeased," the TV host wrote on his Instagram page.

The urgent session of the IBU Executive Board was convened following a letter under which over 170 biathlon athletes from various countries put their signatures, demanding resolute action in relation to the doping scandals.

According to the Part Two report delivered on December 9 in London by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission and its chairman, Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren, over 1,000 Russian athletes competing in summer, winter and Paralympic sports could have been involved in the manipulations system to conceal positive doping tests.

McLaren’s Part Two report claimed in particular that doping samples of 12 Russian medalists of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi had been tampered with. In addition, doping tests of two more Russian athletes, who won four gold medals of the 2014 Sochi Olympics had been falsified as well.

In late December, the Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) announced its decision to refrain from hosting the 2017 World Cup in Tyumen and 2017 Youth Championship in Ostrov. The IBU selected new venues to host the events. BMW IBU World Cup 8 will be held in Kontiolahti, Finland 6-12 March, 2017 and the 2017 Youth Championship will be held in Slovakia’s Osrblie.

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