BERLIN (Reuters) - The International Biathlon Union (IBU) has not requested the retesting of samples from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in the wake of a scandal that led to a ban on Russia’s anti-doping authority, the governing body said on Wednesday.
IBU chief Anders Besseberg was speaking a day after his vice president, James Carrabre, had said the IBU would start retesting given recent information on systematic use of banned substances and tampering of athletes’ samples in Russia.
Since a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report late last year detailing systematic and state-sponsored doping in Russia, the Moscow lab has lost its certification while Russian track and field athletes have been banned from competing.
Concerns about the Sochi 2014 Games testing laboratory have also been raised, with WADA saying in its report that the lab had been infiltrated by security services and imposed an atmosphere of “intimidation.”.
“He (Carrabre) said he would like to do this (retest samples from Sochi) but you know that if it is about the Olympics we are not responsible for it (retesting),” Besseberg told Reuters in a telephone interview from Oslo.
“During the Olympics, testing is done under the supervision of the WADA and the International Olympic Committee.”
The IOC is in charge of testing a few weeks ahead of the Olympics and until the end of the competitions.
International and national federations and anti-doping authorities are responsible for testing outside Olympic periods.
Any retesting of samples of past Games is done by the IOC, which freezes them for eight years and retests using new methods or looks for substances that were not known at the time of the competition.
“We can ask the IOC that they retest and we can ask WADA. But this issue has not been discussed at the IBU,” Besseberg said.
“(Carrabre) has not been in contact with me. If he wants to bring it to the (IBU) Executive Board on March 7 and wants that we should ask the IOC to retest, the EB will say ok, I am sure. Then we will make an application to the IOC. I will, at least, support it.”
Doping is in the spotlight following the allegations concerning Russia and the IAAF world athletics governing body.
This led to Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) being banned in November and the Moscow testing lab losing its certification.
Biathlon, a grueling combination of long-distance skiing and rifle shooting, has not been spared with several Russian athletes, including former world champion Ekaterina Iourieva, banned for doping in recent months.
Two more athletes have so far tested positive in competitions this year, with Besseberg confident the IBU’s system is successful at rooting out cheats.
“We are testing day and night. It is no secret that the majority (of biathletes caught doping) is from East European countries, not only Russia,” he said.
“We are on high alert. We are storing samples as well. I have full confidence in our experts,” Besseberg said. “They are really clever people and I am very proud we have been able to capture so many cheaters.”
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris