Olympic silver medallist Yana Romanova of Russia has claimed she is not guilty of doping after being provisionally suspended by the International Biathlon Union (IBU).
Her comments follow the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko urging officials to be careful when being interviewed, following anti-doping revelations in a New York Times article.
Romanova, a member of the Russian Biathlonrelay team which won the silver medal at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, was implicated in the findings of the second part of the McLaren Report.
It revealed 31 biathletes were implicated in a state-sponsored doping scheme, involving over 1,000 athletes from more than 30 sports, which was in operation at major events between 2011 and 2015.
Romanova was one of two Russian biathletes to have been provisionally suspended, along with Olga Vilukhina (picture under), after they were named in the McLaren Report as having their samples tampered with as scratch marks were found on their bottles.
However, there is no indication that the pair were deliberately taking performance-enhancing drugs.
“I am sure that all my doping samples are clean and I have nothing to hide,” Romanova told TASS.
“However, taking a look at the recent developments surrounding our sport, all reports, lists and blanket bans of our athletes, I do understand that the situation can be changed that I will have to be defending myself.”
“The only question is to what I have to defend myself from – from scratches on my doping sample bottles.”
The interview comes after a senior serving Russian anti-doping official denied admitting that the country operated an “institutional conspiracy” during the Sochi 2014 following comments published in the New York Times.