7 January 2021

RBU concludes combination of factors caused Izhevsk Rifle withdrawals

The Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) has concluded that a combination of various factors caused mass withdrawals at the Izhevsk Rifle competition over the Christmas period, after it emerged that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) is investigating. An investigation by the RBU concluded that loss of the event’s status as a junior World and European Championship qualifying event, Covid-19, and insufficient preparation caused the withdrawals.

The women’s competition took place from 24-27 December in Tchaikovsky (Чайковском), about 30km from Izhevsk (Иже́вск), where the men’s competition took place from 25-28 December. The junior women’s competition included an Individual event on 24 December, a Relay event on 26 December, and a Sprint event on 27 December. The junior men’s competition included the same events but on 25, 27, and 28 December. 

The RBU found that 12 girls from seven regions and 21 juniors from nine regions withdrew from the Sprint events. ‘An important point – the results of the Individual races were included in the Russian championship, and the results of the Relay races influenced the ranking of the regions, whereas the results of the Sprint only counted towards an athlete’s individual statistics’, said the RBU in a statement.

The statement added that last year’s Izhevsk Rifle competition was a qualifying event for the junior World and European Championships, and this year it lost its status. The RBU said that due to Covid-19, international junior competitions have been moved and as such, a qualifying event will be held from 18-21 January in Rybinsk (Рыбинск). 

The RBU added that two athletes who didn’t finish, as reported in an AllSport investigation, were subject to doping control. ‘The RBU has no objections to additional checks on any of those who competed in Tchaikovsky or Izhevsk in order to calm any concerns within the biathlon community’, read its statement.

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