MOSCOW, February 22. /TASS/. Russia’s Foreign Ministry is working to protect Russian biathletes from psychological pressure following searches at a hotel in the Italian city of Antholz where the Russian biathlon team is staying, the ministry’s Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the Rossiya-24 TV channel on Saturday.
Italian police conducted the searches earlier on Saturday based on a warrant for biathlete Alexander Loginov and his personal coach Alexander Kasperovich. Loginov is suspected of violating anti-doping rules and Kasperovich of using someone else’s credentials to access the 2020 Biathlon World Championships.
"I would like to point out that our priority is to protect athletes from psychological pressure. Efforts are underway to resolve legal issues but the most important thing is to make sure that athletes continue competing," Zakharova pointed out.
She added that the Russian Foreign Ministry was cooperating with the Ministry of Sports. "Hopefully, we will resolve the situation soon," the diplomat said.
Loginov won the men’s sprint race at the current championships and took bronze in the pursuit event. He is also included in Russia’s men’s team for a relay race set to take place later on Saturday.
In November 2013, the Russian Biathlon Union suspended Loginov from competition. In November 2014, the International Biathlon Union banned him from sports for two years due to his use of erythropoietin. The ban expired on November 25, 2016.