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Doping charges against Krushelnitsky impact Russian women curlers' results, says expert

Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky has tested positive for meldonium

MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. The situation around Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky charged with a doping offense has affected the results of the women’s team of Olympic Athletes from Russia at the PyeongChang Olympic Games, the former president of the Russian Curling Federation told TASS on Monday.

Radio Sport FM earlier reported that Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky had tested positive for meldonium. On Monday, news surfaced that the anti-doping division of the Court of Arbitration for Sports had opened a case against him.

"The girls, who have for the first time qualified and performed at the Olympics, gave their all. That being the case, the Olympic Games are a bit different with quite a distinct intensity of emotions," said Olga Andrianova, the former head coach of national teams.

"They have had several matches in which they were nearing a victory, but were nonetheless defeated so this had really let them down," Andrianova went on to say. "And of course, the situation around Krushelnitsky has taken its toll on the girls. Curling is first of all a psychological struggle, and when some scandals occur, it is impossible to get in the right mindset," she explained.

Russia’s women curlers have lost all chances of getting into the semifinals at the Pyeongchang Olympics after Britain outperformed Japan 8-6. They will be unable to get into the top four even if they win the last two matches.

Russia’s Victoria Moiseyeva (the skip), Ulyana Vasilyeva, Galina Arsenkina, Yulia Guziyova and Yulia Portunova are scheduled to play against South Korea on February 21.

In women’s curling ten teams are facing off against each other in a single-round tournament. The top four will qualify for the semifinals. The final is due on February 25.

Meanwhile, the Court of Arbitration for Sport's hearing on the case of Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky over doping violations at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games has been tentatively scheduled for Thursday, February 22, President of the Russian Curling Federation Dmitry Svishchev informed TASS over the phone.

"Today, practically all members of the Russian Curling Federation are flying to PyeongChang to attend the CAS session, which is tentatively scheduled for Thursday," Svishchev said. "I do not rule out, however, that it could be held tomorrow, so we want to fly to PyeongChang in advance. Team leader Tatiana Kharchenko and I are flying [to South Korea], while all the rest are waiting for us there. We cannot leave these guys all alone in this situation."

Krushelnitsky, together with his wife Anastasia Bryzgalova, won the bronze in curling mixed doubles at the Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang. The result of the opening of Krushelnitsky’s B-sample has not been made public yet.