25 Dec 2018 14:52

Biathlete Shipulin: Double standards applied to Russian athletes

MOSCOW. Dec 25 (Interfax) - Russian athletes are treated unfairly around the world, Russian biathlete Anton Shipulin, a 2014 Olympic champion, said on Tuesday.

"I have always thought that sports and politics are different things and that we must show our strength at competitions, but now this is not so. There are double standards for Russian athletes and for others. Seeing that, you don't want to fight windmills and humble yourself to prove that you are innocent of these groundless charges," Shipulin, who announced earlier on Tuesday he was finishing his sports career, said at a press conference.

Shipulin said earlier in the day that the Christmas Race in Germany on December 29 would be the last competition he would take part in.

"I have always said that I am a clean athlete, I've explained a lot of times to Fourcade [Martin Fourcade, a French biathlete and five-time Olympic champion] about the political situation in my country and about pressure being put on us. He understands it to some degree. If WADA and other organizations have some evidence, it needs to be considered, but when police come and say that, in the opinion of some man who is in the U.S., you have broken the rules, it's clear this is an act of provocation planned in advance. I avoid these provocations that prevent me from concentrating on races and competitions," Shipulin said.

It was reported on December 13 that Austrian police visited the location of Russia's national team at a hotel in Hochfilzen, where the athletes arrived to compete in a World Cup event. Austrian law enforcement agencies had questions for several Russian athletes, coaches, and medical specialists suspected of violating anti-doping rules during a tournament in Hochfilzen in February 2017.

The list of Russians suspected of anti-doping violations included biathletes Evgeniy Garanichev, Alexander Loginov, Anton Shipulin, Irina Starykh, and Alexei Volkov, former national team coach Alexander Kasperovich, doctors Artyom Kryntsilov and Yevgeny Shutov, and massagers Alexander Selyavkin and Dmitry Topychkanov.

Russian Biathlon Union President Vladimir Drachev said on December 18 that Austrian police did not bring any particular charges against the Russians.