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Russian biathlete says would rather ditch Sochi medal than return it

The International Olympic Committee has banned five Russian athletes from the Olympic Games and annulled their results achieved at the Sochi Olympics

MOSCOW, November 28. /TASS/. Russian biathlete Yana Romanova has told TASS she would rather ditch her silver Sochi medal than return it to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) if she fails to prove her innocence.

On Monday, the International Olympic Committee banned five Russian athletes, including biathletes Romanova and Olga Vilukhina, from the Olympic Games and annulled their results achieved at the Sochi Olympics. Romanova and Vilukhina both won silver medals in the mixed relay event at the 2014 Olympic Games. Romanova said earlier that she planned to file an appeal with the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"If we fail to get justice, I would rather ditch the medal than return it to the IOC," Romanova said.

"I will never return my medal to the IOC. They have made an unfounded decision. I underwent the doping-control procedures carried out by WADA [the World Anti-Doping Agency] and RUSADA [the Russian Anti-Doping Agency] many times. They [IOC] just decided that in Sochi we had violated anti-doping rules," the biathlete said.

She emphasized her determination to continue demonstrating the medal to young athletes and "telling them about this uneasy but interesting path." "I will tell them what I felt when the medal was awarded to me. When Olga Vilukhina crossed the finish line in the relay event, we all came running to her and I was overwhelmed with my childhood memories, remembering my first visit to a sports school when I was nine, my father taking me to competitions, my mother preparing food for us to take away," the biathlete said.

"We were happy when we achieved success at competitions of various levels, but then we won an Olympic medal. It was a long and interesting journey," Romanova added.