Russian appeals four-year doping ban

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Curling – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Mixed Doubles Bronze Medal Match - Olympic Athletes from Russia v Norway - Gangneung Curling Center - Gangneung, South Korea – February 13, 2018 - Alexander Krushelnitsky, an Olympic athlete from Russia, sweeps. Picture taken February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky, who failed a doping test at this year’s Pyeongchang Olympics, has appealed against a four-year ban imposed by a court, his agent said yesterday.

Russia’s Olympic team was banned from Pyeongchang as punishment for an alleged state-sponsored doping cover-up scheme at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi. But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) nevertheless invited Russian athletes with no history of doping, such as Krushelnitsky, to compete as neutrals in Pyeongchang.

Russia has denied the existence of state-sponsored doping in the country, though it has acknowledged some shortcomings in its enforcement of anti-doping regulations.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled earlier this month that Krushelnitsky had committed an anti-doping rule violation after testing positive for a banned drug known as meldonium in Pyeongchang.

Krushelnitsky and his wife Anastasia Bryzgalova were stripped of their curling mixed doubles bronze medal.

Bryzgalova did not fail doping tests at the Games, but had to relinquish her medal because of her husband’s positive test.

Krushelnitsky sought to prove that the use of meldonium was accidental, according to CAS. He did not admit to deliberately taking the drug, which increases blood flow and improves exercise capacity in athletes.

Krushelnitsky’s agent, Andrey Mitkov, wrote on his Facebook page that Krushelnitsky had filed an appeal earlier this week.

CAS could not immediately be reached for comment.

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