ITAR-TASS: HOCHFILZEN, AUSTRIA. DECEMBER 6, 2013. Russia’s biathlete Evgeny Ustyugov competes in the men’s 10 km sprint at E.ON International Biathlon Union World Cup 2. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Valery Sharifulin) Австрия. Хохфильцен. 6 декабря. Российский биатлонист Евгений Устюгов на этапе Кубка мира по биатлону. Фото ИТАР-ТАСС/ Валерий Шарифулин

ANTHOLZ /Italy/, February 13. /TASS/. The International Biathlon Union (IBU) has opened a new doping probe against Russian Olympic Champion Evgeny Ustyugov, who was previously found innocent of violating anti-doping regulations, President of the Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) Vladimir Drachev told TASS on Thursday.

Accusations of anti-doping violations were voiced in regard to Ustyugov in August 2018. Three more Russian biathletes were accused jointly with Ustyugov of anti-doping rules violations and they were Svetlana Sleptsova, Alexander Pechenkin and Alexander Chernyshov. The latter two were slapped with suspensions in June 2019.

“Before leaving for the [2020 Biathlon] World Championshipm in Antholz I learnt that the IBU begins a new probe in regard to Olympic Champion Evgeny Ustyugov based on his biological passport,” Drachev said. “The same investigation was held in 2017 and 2018.”

“Ustyugov, who was already retired from sports for four years, voluntarily underwent all the necessary tests to prove that he was innocent,” Drachev continued. “Back then the investigation was closed and it was established that he never consumed banned substances and never resorted to prohibited methods.”

“However, a year and a half later the IBU launches another probe examining the very same biological passport,” the RBU president said. “But the disturbing fact is that the IBU informed about it neither the Russian Biathlon Union nor me personally. I have learnt about this probe from totally different sources.”

“This is why we are currently preparing an official statement for the IBU requesting it to explain the situation,” Drachev stated.

The RBU chief stressed that the first case against Ustyugov was officially closed due to the absence of any kind of violations on his behalf.

“We are asking the IBU to explain why a new probe was opened after a year and a half,” he added.

Ustyugov, 34, is a two-time Olympic champion. He won his first gold in mass start at the Winter Olympics in Canada and his second gold at the 2014 Olympics in Russia’s Sochi in team relay event. After the Olympics on his home soil, Ustyugov announced that he wrapped up his sports career.

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