The 10 members of the Kazakhstan national biathlon team detained by police in Austria last week at the World Championships in Hochfilzen, amid doping suspicions, have all returned negative results.
Headphoto: Deprived EQUIPMENT: Galina Vishnevskaya alleges that the police have taken practitioners communications equipment, and that they have no idea when they get it back.
PHOTO: JOSTEIN MAGNUSSEN
Galina Vishnevskaya is one of the performers at the Kazakh national team, and was part of what happened the night after raid. She says that the athletes were stripped of mobile phones, and were not allowed to ask for help or assistance. She also alleges that the police did not tell what kind of status athletes had.
– We were afraid, but since we knew we were clean so we chose to cooperate, she said at the press conference.
– We were so stressed, and the result was as expected – a 11th place, she says.
Vishnevskaya alleges that the equipment seized from the athletes, not yet relinquished.
– They took all communications equipment, PCs, mobile phones. We have no idea when we get this back. Who uses our personal data now? Where’s the equipment? she asked from the podium on the World Cup arena.
– On February 10, I had my birthday. But no one could reach me, for all of the mobile equipment was seized.
Vice President of the National Olympic Committee of Kazakhstan, Andrey Kryukov, said on the pressconference that:
- The athletes were questioned to clock 05 at night, it was searchings and questions. This terrible treatment limited their opportunities in mix-relay.
Kazakhstan was number 11 on the mix-relay day after raid.
In a joint statement, the Kazakhstan Biathlon Federation (KBF) and National Olympic Committee of Kazakhstan (KNOC) said all the athletes were tested in full compliance with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) procedures for all banned substances.
“This outcome comes as absolutely no surprise to the KBF and KNOC as the protection of clean athletes and the fight against doping, in all forms, remains a top priority for all anti-doping stakeholders in Kazakhstan,” the statement reads.
“Whilst we completely support the right of the Austrian authorities and the International Biathlon Union (IBU) to rigorously pursue all anti-doping detection procedures, this has to be conducted based on internationally-recognised standards of fairness and the presumption of innocence granted for all athletes involved.
“Such procedures are clearly outlined in the WADA Code of Conduct.
“Therefore, it is with regret that the KBF/KNOC believe such procedures have been ignored on this occasion and that the Kazakhstani athletes involved have had their fundamental rights abused by this detention.
“In particular, our athletes have complained of continuous interviews until 5am, personal data exemption, and search and seizure activities during the ongoing training process.”
A search of the hotel of the Kazakhstan national biathlon team was conducted last Wednesday (February 8) by the Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office.
It came on the eve of the World Championships, which begun with the mixed relay race.
According to Austrian authorities, a “significant volume” of items such as drugs, mobile phones and medical equipment were seized by 30 officials as part of the raid.
The IBU, in coordination with the Austrian Anti-Doping Agency (NADA Austria), then conducted blood and urine tests on the entire Kazakh team.
THE ATHLETES WAS AFRAID AND STRESSED .
“This excessive and wrongful treatment of the athletes resulted in fatigue and stress, which significantly limited their performances in the next day’s mixed relay event,” the joint statement adds.
“We urge the Austrian authorities and the IBU to investigate the whole process and treatment of the Kazakhstani athletes at the earliest opportunity to ensure such an incident is never repeated.”
The IBU has also released a statement stating it is not contemplating any disciplinary action.
“On February, 8 2017, the Criminal Intelligence Service Austria conducted the search of the Kazakhstan national biathlon team accommodations based on the investigation on possible anti-doping rules violations,” it reads in IBU’s statement.
“The IBU tasked the Austrian Anti-Doping Agency to conduct both urine and blood tests on every athlete.
“Today the WADA-accredited laboratory in Seibersdorf reported all test results for urine, blood and serum were negative.
“The samples were tested for all substances on the WADA prohibited list, including EPO and human growth hormone.
“Therefore the IBU is not considering any disciplinary actions against any athlete at this point in time.
“Since the investigations of the Criminal Intelligence Service Austria are still ongoing with regard to the evaluation of material found, the IBU reserves the right for any further disciplinary action based on any possible findings by the Austrian State Attorney at a later time.
“The National Biathlon Federation of Kazakhstan has been cooperating with the state authorities, the IBU and NADA Austria during the investigation.”
Photo: Russian Ekaterina Glazyrina was provisionally suspended by the IBU last week due to findings in the McLaren Report ©Getty Images
Doping issues have overshadowed the World Championships in Hochfilzen, with the IBU stripping Russian city Tyumen of the 2021 World Championships last week.
Russian Ekaterina Glazyrina was then provisionally suspended by the IBU with immediate effect due to findings in the McLaren Report.
It meant the 29-year-old was not be able to compete in the women’s sprint event and was replaced by Irina Uslugina.
Compatriot Anton Shipulin has said he hopes for a fair investigation into doping abuse allegations regarding his team-mates.
“I hope that the results of the investigation will be fair and our country will be provided an opportunity to present convincing evidence against the pending accusations,” he told Ski-nordique.
Published on December 9, the second part of the WADA-commissioned McLaren Report looked into allegations of state-sponsored Russian doping, particularly in winter sports, and the possibility of a sample manipulation scheme.
Shipulin also said that when he read through the report, he saw no evidence pointing to the alleged guilt of Russian athletes.
“When I read the report it seemed to me that I was watching a fantastic movie,” he added.
Source: VG and insidethegames