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MOSCOW, January 22. /TASS/. The decision of the International Biathlon Union (IBU) to close investigation into cases of 22 out of 29 Russian biathletes allegedly involved in doping violations was an anticipated one in Russia, President of the Russian Olympic Committee and first deputy speaker of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house, Alexander Zhukov, said on Sunday.
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 violations 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.
"It was an anticipated decision," Zhukov said, adding that the federation "is currently scrutinized the lists" of athletes mentioned in the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Independent Commission’s report. "If they find no violations, they drop any claims to these athletes," he noted.
"International federations have requested information about these athletes and, naturally, those who are not found to have taken doping are not suspended," Zhukov said.
In his words, the International Ski Federation (FIS), which earlier imposed a provisional suspension for a number of athletes, is reviewing the list of Russian athletes.
"This investigation has once again demonstrated that most of accusations presented in the McLaren report are substantiated by no evidence," Zhukov stressed. "You remember that the same situation was before the Rio Olympics: all international federations checked the lists of athletes mentioned in McLaren’s first report and all the federations, but for two or three, cleared the athletes for competition as they had found no violations."
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.
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. The Russian Biathlon Union refused from hosting the World Cup in Tyumen and the junior world competition in the Pskov region in 2017.