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CAS opens doping probe for Russian curling athlete Krushelnitsky

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Kristopher Love | 19 February, 2018, 12:41

The Court of Arbitration for Sport's anti-doping division has begun proceedings against Russian mixed curler Alexander Krushelnitsky it has announced.

Although they competed under the OAR flag, the International Olympic Committee had said beforehand the Russian athletes may have been able to march in their own national colors at the closing ceremony if they stuck to its strict code of conduct on neutrality.

Krushelnitsky is suspected of testing positive for meldonium, a banned substance that increases blood flow and improves exercise capacity.

"Why would an athlete in one of the Winter Games" least taxing and physically demanding sports feel it necessary to use performance-enhancing drugs?

Russian curling coach Sergei Belanov earlier dismissed the claims against Krushelnitsky, saying doping would be "no advantage" in curling, a sedate ice sport.

"It's stupid and Alexander is not a stupid man".

Krushelnitsky and Brysgalova defeated Norway 8-4 in the mixed doubles bronze medal game after falling to Switzerland in the semifinals. "Of course we very much hope it was some kind of mistake", Russian curler Viktoria Moiseeva said, adding the team believed Krushelnitsky was innocent.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said there could be "consequences" for Russian Federation - a special panel will meet this week to discuss lifting Russia's suspension before the closing ceremony.

"On the one hand it is extremely disappointing when prohibited substances might have been used, but on the other hand it shows the effectiveness of the anti-doping system at the Games which protects the rights of all the clean athletes", an International Olympic Committee spokesperson said.

"And if it hasn't been there will obviously be consequences".

The IOC has said it may allow the Russians to march with the Russian flag and in national uniform at the Games closing ceremony on February 25, provided they will have complied with its code of conduct on neutrality.

"But I think you can be pretty confident we have a very, very thorough testing process in place and we have the experts with the expertise who are doing that".