MOSCOW, November 24. /TASS/. Russia’s bobsleigh federation on Friday will send a letter to the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) demanding to urgently convene a special commission that will invite suspended Russian skeleton racers for a hearing.
"I was very surprised by the international federation’s hasty decision to suspend our athletes," President of the Russian Bobsleigh Federation Alexander Zubkov told TASS. "Today, we will send a letter there demanding that they convene a commission and again listen to our athletes. This is the same way it was already last season when in late December we were suspended for a certain time."
The IBSF has provisionally suspended four Russian skeleton athletes - Aleksandr Tretiakov, Elena Nikitina, Olga Potylitsyna and Mariia Orlova - in line with Wednesday’s decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) commission chaired by Denis Oswald.
Earlier, Tretiakov and Nikitina were stripped off their gold and bronze medals from the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games for violating anti-doping rules, and the athletes have been suspended from taking part in the Olympics for life. Besides, the results of Orlova and Potylitsyna in Sochi were annulled, and they were also banned from the Olympics.
In early 2017, Tretiakov, Nikitina, Potylitsyna and Orlova were forced to skip a stage of the World Cup over their temporary suspension by the IBSF after the publication of the second part of a report by Richard McLaren’s commission. Later, all sanctions were lifted due to the lack of evidence of the athletes’ violations.
"As of today, there is no evidence of their guilt, that’s why our athletes should be allowed to take part in the international competitions," Zubkov said. "We hope that the IBSF will do the same way as it did last season, when after the hearings the suspension of all our athletes was lifted."
"Shortly after a stage of the World Cup I will fly to Moscow to meet with our sports chiefs. And then, I will immediately go to the IBSF where we will take steps for the soonest return of the athletes. We will make every effort to bring our athletes for the World Cup’s next stage in Winterberg (Germany, December 8)," Zubkov said.