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HOCHFILZEN, February 9. /TASS/. French two-time Olympic champion in biathlon Martin Fourcade left the podium during the medal awards ceremony of the 2017 IBU World Championship in Austria’s Hochfilzen as Russian athletes were receiving the bronze medals.
The Russian national biathlon team raced to bronze on Thursday in mixed-relay at the 2017 IBU World Championships in Austria’s Hochfilzen.
Russia’s Olga Podchufarova, Taiana Akimova, Alexander Loginov and Anton Shipulin finished the race in the third place behind winners Germany and silver medalists from France.
During the award ceremony, Fourcade also refused to shake hands with Russia’s Shipulin and Loginov and returned to the pedestal after reportedly asked about it by IBU President Anders Besseberg.
"I have greeted Fourcade, approached him and expressed my respect, but he had no intentions of shaking hands with me," Loginov said in an interview with TASS.
Loginov’s teammate Shipulin said during a news conference after the race that the French biathlon racer behaved indecently in regard to the Russian team on the whole.
"We are all one team and one family, therefore if we see an improper behavior in regard to one of us, to Loginov in this case, I believe it was indecent behavior in regard to the whole Russian team," Shipulin said.
"I personally believe, that athletes should be competing on the track instead of doing politics," Shipulin said. "This also goes well in regard to Martin Fourcade."
Following the press conference, Shipulin said in an interview with TASS that he respected Fourcade as an athlete but the French biathlete had been recently acting improperly as a human being.
"The most important for Fourcade is to realize that he is not the only one having the right to make public announcements," Shipulin told TASS. "I hope that we will have a personal discussion with him in the future and will settle all issues."
"I do respect him as an athlete, but it seems to me that as a human being he is getting worse and worse in his behavior," Shipulin added.
During the relay race on Thursday in Austria’s Hochfilzen, Fourcade was allegedly seen to step on one of the skis of Loginov as the baton of the Russian team was passed on to him by Shipulin.
Commenting on the developments Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said in an interview with TASS that the national team’s athletes should be above such trifles ignoring them.
"What we need now is to prove our power on the track and not spare attention to things like that," Mutko said in an interview with TASS. "The Russian team needs to win and we can do this."
"The Russian biathletes had a good race and we all saw the powerful potential of our boys," Mutko said. "Of course I am not mentioning the behavior of some stars, who behaved in such manner on the finish line."
"We all saw that Anton (Shipulin) and Alexander (Loginov) are well prepared and are ready for the fight," he said. "The most important races are ahead of us."
Last month, French famous biathlon racer Fourcade stirred a public outcry on the internet after leaving his comment to a web-post about Loginov, saying that the Russian athlete’s only up-to-date achievement in biathlon was a two-year suspension over anti-doping rules violation.