This past weekend over 30 Russian athletes withdrew from participation in the Siberian Indoor Championships in Irkutsk. This comes just a month after the International Olympic Committee banned Russian athletes from competing under their nation’s flag in the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympics over state-supported cheating by use of performance-enhancing drugs.
This past weekend’s mass-withdrawal came as the Russian Athletics Federation sent drug testers to the championship event, with many of the 30+ deserters feigning illnesses. The Federation claims to not be surprised with this action, and that it in fact helps to support its case for strengthening doping testing at regional-level competitions.
While it has yet to be confirmed that these athletes withdrew due to illegal drug use, the Federation’s president, Dmitry Shlyakhtin, maintains suspicions that the doping situations has not improved in all regions.
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