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Biathlon: Russia's Starykh off Olympic squad after failing dope test

Russian biathlete Irina Starykh, already provisionally suspended by the International Biathlon Union (IBU) after failing a drugs test, was excluded from the country's Olympic squad on Thursday at her request.

MOSCOW: Russian biathlete Irina Starykh, already provisionally suspended by the International Biathlon Union (IBU) after failing a drugs test, was excluded from the country's Olympic squad on Thursday at her request.

The IBU had announced on Wednesday that three biathletes representing Russia and Lithuania had been provisionally suspended for doping.

The Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) said the decision to leave Starykh out of their squad came at the athlete's request until after the investigation into her failed test was completed.

"I received the IBU notice that one of my samples tested positive for a banned drug, which was a great surprise for me," Starykh wrote in a letter published on the RBU's official site.

"I have asked for my B sample to be tested as I consider the situation to be a kind of misunderstanding but until the end of the investigation I consider my staying in the team to be unacceptable. I decided to leave the team's training camp.

"I asked the RBU to exclude me from the team until the end of the investigation and to inform all the concerned organisations about my decision."

Starykh, 26, had been considered a medal contender for the February 7-23 Sochi Olympics in Russia.

No details were given on the banned substance or where the test was carried out.

RBU president Mikhail Prokhorov said they would only issue a detailed comment on the case after receiving the records about the case from the IBU.

"Only after we receive and analyse the records we will give our comments on the situation," RIA-NOVOSTI news agency quoted Prokhorov as saying.

Prokhoprov added that a great deal of work has been carried out by RBU in the fight against doping in the past six years.

"We have tested 10 times more samples than WADA (world anti-doping agency) did in these years," he said.

"We have tested our athletes in and after every training camp. It's a question of principle for us (RBU)."

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