Bobsleigh: Russia loses 2017 world championships

Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:58pm EST
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ZURICH (Reuters) - The doping scandal that has engulfed Russian sport claimed another casualty on Tuesday when the 2017 bobsleigh and skeleton world championships were taken away from Sochi amid the growing threat of a boycott.

Latvia had already pulled out of the Feb. 13-26 event following last week's publication of the second part of the McLaren Report into Russian doping which revealed an institutional conspiracy to conceal positive tests.

South Korea, hosts of the 2018 Winter Olympics, and skeleton athletes from the United States had also been considering withdrawing from the championships in protest at Russian doping.

The new venue will be decided in the next few days, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) said in a statement.

Germany had already said it was willing to host the competition if it was switched.

The decision to move the championships was politicized and without grounds, Russia's RIA news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

Vitaly Smirnov, head of Russia's anti-doping commission, told the R-Sport news agency that other sports could now choose to move competitions away from his country.

"It's probably a consequence of the McLaren Report ... in principle there could be decisions on a whole range of sports," Smirnov said.

Russia is due to host the eighth stage of the Biathlon World Cup in Tyumen from March 7-12, the ISU World Cup Speed Skating final in Chelyabinsk (March 10-12) and the cross-country World Cup final in Tyumen from March 16-19.   Continued...