CAS upholds doping ban for Russian bobsledder Zubkov

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Alexander Zubkov celebrates the gold medal run in the four-man bobsleigh in Sochi but Russia was later stripped of the medal and Zubkov banned
Alexander Zubkov celebrates the gold medal run in the four-man bobsleigh in Sochi but Russia was later stripped of the medal and Zubkov banned

The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected Russian bobsleigh driver Alexander Zubkov's bid to overturn a two-year ban for his involvement in the 2014 Sochi doping scandal, imposed by the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF).

"The CAS Panel dismissed the appeals and confirmed the decision taken by the IBSF Hearing Panel on 16 January 2019 in its entirety," CAS said in a statement published on Friday.

Zubkov's Russian team-mates Aleksander Pushkarev, Aleksander Kasyanov and Ilvir Khuzin also had their two-year suspensions upheld. 

The decision comes as Russia prepares to face CAS starting on Monday to challenge a four-year ban from major competitions for its repeated doping, notably the Sochi Winter Olympics, imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

In its judgement, CAS noted that the sanction pronounced by the FIBT "arises from the investigation into a sample-swapping scheme in operation at the Sochi Games".

WADA had also appealed in the hope of obtaining "an increased sanction based on aggravating circumstances", from two to four years.

Silver medallist at the 2006 Olympics in Turin and bronze medallist in Vancouver four years later, Zubkov was Russia's flag-bearer during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Olympics and went on to win the two bobsleigh events: two-man and four-man. 

But he was stripped of both golds in 2017 by a disciplinary commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) following the McLaren report which revealed the doping system established during the 2014 Olympics, with the help of the Russian secret services. 

The FSB, successor to the KGB, had developed a system for opening urine samples of Russian athletes and replacing them with "clean" samples. 

Now 46, Zubkov's career ended with an injury in 2014. He then became president of the Russian Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, a post he had to leave following his suspension by the FIBT.

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