Three Biathletes Fail Doping Test, One Admits Fault
Three biathletes, one from Lithuania and two from Russia, have tested positive for doping. The International Biathlon Union (IBU) has officially announced the provisional suspension of the three athletes.
This decision was based on Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) reports indicating the presence of a non-specified substance in these athletes' A samples.
One of the three athletes, Karolis Zlatkauskas of Lithuania, has waived his right of testing the B sample. Zlatkauskas' adverse analytical finding in the A sample was the result of a sample collected in Obertilliach, Austria on Dec. 19, 2013 as an out-of-competition test. The sample was taken by the Austrian NADA on behalf of the IBU. The laboratory report (from the laboratory in Seibersdorf) of the urine sample showed the presence of recombinant erythropoietin. Recombinant erythropoietin belongs to group S2: Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors and Related Substances/erythropoietin (EPO) of the WADA Prohibited List. As the substance detected is prohibited under the applicable Prohibited List, the IBU will now initiate the disciplinary procedure, and the case will be assigned to the IBU Anti-Doping Hearing Panel for adjudication. According to the IBU, Zlatkauskas admitted that he made a mistake. He pointed out in a letter to the IBU that with his action he deeply disappointed the IBU, the Lithuanian Biathlon Federation and his team. He closed his comments by offering an apology to the whole biathlon family for his actions.
Sprint specialist Irina Starykh of Russia wrote a letter to the Russian Biathlon Union saying she will leave the Olympic team "for an indefinite period." She has asked for the "B" sample to be tested.
In a letter from Starykh to the Russian Biathlon Union, she says, "This news was a major unexpected event for me. Believe me that I respectfully regret that this story is linked with my name. ... I do not have the right or the desire to let down the girls and the whole team.".
Starykh says she thinks the positive result is a "misunderstanding," but adds "until the end of proceedings, I consider it unacceptable to be on the team. I understand that in the eyes of the public I will throw a shadow on the team."
Although the IBU did not release any names, media reports identified Russian Ekaterina Iourieva as the third doping biathlete. She was also suspended for doping in 2009. Iourieva has not been expected to compete in Sochi.
The New York Times recently ran an article stating that the "Russian Biathlon Coach Has Suspicions."