MOSCOW, November 24. /TASS/. The decision made by the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) to suspend four Russian skeleton athletes shortly before the IBSF World Cup in Canada’s Whistler shows the federation’s attitude to them, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS.
Earlier on Friday, the IBSF temporarily suspended Russian skeleton athletes Aleksandr Tretiakov, Elena Nikitina, Maria Orlova and Olga Potylitsyna in line with a decision made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) commission chaired by Denis Oswald. However, the federation still has not received a written reasoning for the decision. Meanwhile, when facing a similar situation, the International Ski Federation (FIS) decided not to suspend six Russian skiers due to the lack of evidence proving their guilt and announced that it awaited the Oswald commission to clarify its reasons.
"The federation [FIS] did not suspend the Russian athletes because there is no written reasoning," Mutko said. "Appeals [against the IOC commission’s decision] are being prepared, but athletes are bound hand and foot as there is no written reasoning. However, it seems that the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation does not need it," the Russian deputy prime minister added.
"Let the federation’s president explain why the skeleton athletes have been suspended. This situation shows the federation’s attitude to athletes who are currently overseas [taking part in the World Cup in Canada]," Mutko continued. "We have a strategy to defend them, appeals will be filed, and in case a need arises, we will go to a civil court," he noted.
Tretiakov and Nikitina were scheduled to participate in the IBSF World Cup in Whistler. At the previous competitions, the athletes achieved success, as on November 10, Tretiakov was third in Lake Placid and on November 19, Nikitina won the competition in Park City. The chief coach of the Russian skeleton and bobsleigh team Danil Chaban told TASS that the athletes learned about their suspension right after the final training before the upcoming competition’s draw.