IBSF lifts provisional suspension of four Russian bobsleigh athletes

Moscow, Jan 8 (IANS) The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) on Sunday lifted the provisional suspension of four Russian skeleton athletes — Elena Nikitina, Maria Orlova, Olga Potylitsyna and Aleksandr Tretiakov.

The four Russian athletes were provisionally (till January 19) suspended from competitions over suspected violations of anti-doping rules during the 2014 Olympic Games, reports Tass.

“The IBSF Doping Hearing Panel concludes therefore to lift the provisional suspension of Elena Nikitina, Maria Orlova, Olga Potylitsyna, and Aleksandr Tretiakov, with immediate effect as of the date of signing of this decision,” the IBSF said in a press statement.

The IBSF Doping Hearing Panel ruled that in compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights each individual has the right to fair trial and the presumption of innocence is guaranteed until the guilt in proved.

It came to the conclusion that “there is not (yet) sufficient evidence against the Athletes that would justify the provisional suspension”.

“The Doping Hearing Panel comes to the conclusion that the World Anit-Doping Agency report provides sufficient reason to conduct further investigation by both the IOC and the IBSF into the role of the athletes in tampering or attempted tampering of any Doping Control,” IBSF said.

Tretiakov won the 2014 Olympic gold, Nikitina won bronze.

According to a report delivered on December 9 by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission and its chairman, Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren, over 1,000 Russian athletes competing in summer, winter and Paralympic sports could have been involved in the manipulations system to conceal positive doping tests.

McLaren’s report claimed in particular that doping samples of 12 Russian medallists of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi had been tampered with.

In addition, doping tests of two more Russian athletes, who won four gold medals of the 2014 Sochi Olympics had been falsified as well.