Russian Curler To Get His Day In Court Over Doping Case

Thursday, 22 Feb, 2018

Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky could be stripped of his Winter Olympics bronze medal after his second sample tested positive for banned substance meldonium.

The Russian Olympic delegation in Pyeongchang has launched an investigation into the case and has said it can not explain how meldonium got into Krushelnitsky's body.

In his first comments since the positive test emerged this week, Krushelnitckii said he had never taken any banned substances and was categorically against doping.

Belano says he doesn't believe Alexander Krushelnitsky would have taken the drug because it would be foolish to do so.

Krushelnitsky had passed rigorous vetting to attend the Pyeongchang Games, raising questions over the testing programme and the move to let Russians compete despite systemic doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"Knowing that we may have been robbed and having to wait to see what happens is obviously emotional, and very stressful", said Nedregotten, whose medal hopes were dashed after an 8-4 defeat by the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) pair.

Adams stood by the decision to allow Russian athletes to compete in the Games - the OAR team are the fourth-best represented squad in South Korea - and is confident that the ceremony will not be overshadowed, regardless of what decision the International Olympic Committee makes.

The OAR statement said "no evidence of systematic usage of meldonium" was available in this case. Meldonium, which in 2016 led to a long ban for tennis star Maria Sharapova, usually stays in the system for months.

"Therefore, the Russian Olympic Committee has initiated a comprehensive investigation of the circumstances, which also includes the criminal investigation under the Russian Federation criminal law to establish the facts of the case in detail".

"It's obvious that in this particular case, the athlete could not have intentionally used a prohibited substance, it just does not make any sense", Russian news agencies quoted Mr Kolobkov as saying.

"I will say that there is a reason to dope during curling", Lee Banville, an assistant professor at the University of Montana journalism school and a curler, told the Missoulian, a Montana newspaper.

"We express our honest regret over the fact of this incident", the Russian spokesman said.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is yet to make a decision on whether the Olympic Athletes of Russian Federation team will appear under their national flag at the Pyeongchang closing ceremony.

"We fully share and support the WADA and the IOC's zero tolerance attitude to doping and take all the required measures so that the offenders bear the utmost responsibility for that", the delegation said.

Only two other athletes - the Japanese short-track speedskater Kei Saito and the Slovenian hockey player Ziga Jeglic - have failed doping tests at these Games.