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Russia’s Ustyugov spends hundreds of thousands of US dollars in legal spat with IBU

The athlete has challenged his two-year suspension over alleged violations of anti-doping regulations

MOSCOW, September 14. /TASS/. Russia’s 2014 Olympic gold medalist in biathlon Evgeny Ustyugov told TASS that his court dispute against the International Biathlon Union (IBU) costs him hundreds of thousands of US dollars.

Ustyugov filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland’s Lausanne in March this year stating a disagreement against his suspension for alleged violations of anti-doping regulations.

The Swiss court stated in June that the case of Ustyugov’s appeal is on the schedule of hearings for October 20, adding that "Due to the travel restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, some hearings may be conducted by video conference."

"I could have almost died from desperation, if not for my friends’ help," Ustyugov said in an interview with TASS. "I have undergone numerous examinations, collected evidence and was also paying my lawyers."

"It has already cost me hundreds of thousands of US dollars," he continued. "An average Russian athlete is simply incapable of fighting against the heartless system of the global sports and athletes in our sport have no financial means of this level to do it."

"We were deprived of the right for the presumption of innocence a long time ago," Ustyugov said. "The WADA [the World Anti-Doping Agency] and IOC [the International Olympic Committee] have created a system, which makes it almost impossible to protect yourself in case they make a mistake."

"My emotions are flaring up instead of melting down," Ustyugov said. "It is hard to render all my feelings of anger and desperation, which I have to live with every day."

"I have never felt such a helpless little man being under the pressure of punishers - WADA and IOC," he added.

The IBU announced on February 13, 2013 that it found Ustyugov guilty of consuming banned performance enhancing drug Oxandrolone. The world’s governing biathlon body ruled to annul all results of the athlete for the period from August 27, 2013 until the end of the 2013/2014 season, including his 2014 Sochi Olympics gold medal in team relay.

After the IBU announced on February 13 its decision to suspend Ustyugov for two years, the Russian biathlete had 21 days to file an appeal against the IBU’s verdict with the Swiss-based court.

In case CAS rules against upholding Ustyugov’s appeal, he will be stripped of his 2014 Olympics gold medal. His teammates Anton Shipulin, Dmitry Malyshko and Alexei Volkov, who raced with him in the team relay event at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, will also be stripped of their Olympic gold and Russia will lose its top position in the overall medals standings of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Ustyugov, 35, is a two-time Olympic champion. He won his first gold in mass start at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada and his second gold at the 2014 Olympics in Russia’s Sochi in team relay event. After the Olympics on his home soil, Ustyugov announced that he wrapped up his sports career.