Sports

Winter Olympics: Medal Winning Russian Athlete Suspected Of Doping

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| February 19 , 2018 , 14:06 IST

Russian Atheleter Alexander Krushelnitsky, who competes in curling, is suspected of testing positive for meldonium, a banned substance that increases blood flow and improves exercise capacity. This scandal could hinder Russia’s efforts to regain full Olympic status.

Amidst this controversy, the athlete has left the Olympic Village as he awaits the results of the second sample which will come on Monday. Krushelnitsky won bronze with his wife Anastasia Bryzgalova in mixed-doubles curling in Pyeongchang.

Suspicions of doping have shocked the Russian rosters, who are trying to resurrect their reputation in the wake of drug-cheating scandals.

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Russia has been accused of running a state-backed, systematic doping program for years, an allegation that Moscow denies. As a result, its athletes are competing at Pyeongchang as neutral “Olympic Athletes from Russia” (OAR) and are banned from using their national flag or anthem.

The Russians had been hoping that a clean record at Pyeongchang would persuade the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow them to march at the closing ceremony on February 25 with the Russian flag.

The World Anti-Doping Agency banned meldonium with effect from January 2016, deeming it performance-enhancing because it enabled users to carry more oxygen to muscle tissue. More than 170 athletes, including over 40 Russians, have tested positive for the drug since it was banned.