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22 Feb, 2020 08:24

Italian police search surging Russian biathlete Loginov HOURS before race

Italian police search surging Russian biathlete Loginov HOURS before race

Alexander Loginov, who broke a 12-year losing streak for Russian male biathletes by winning gold at the IBU World Championships, has been subjected to a search by Italian police hours before a Saturday event.

The search warrant served by police in Rasen-Antholz in South Tyrol, Italy where the competition is taking place targets Loginov and Russian team coach Alexander Kasperovich.

Loginov told media that the investigators are acting on a tip from an official from the International Biathlon Union. His phone and laptop were seized during the search.

Police said the raid was part of an investigation into the possible use of doping. The Bolzano prosecutor’s office, which issued the search warrant, refused to comment on the case. The first results of the search didn't show any doping violations, Russian Embassy in Italy said later in the day.

Loginov tested positive for a banned substance in 2013 and was later barred from competing. The punishment period ended in 2016. In 2018 the Russian biathlon team was investigated by the Austrian police for alleged doping violations, but all charges were eventually dropped.

Also on rt.com Breaking 12-year curse: Alexander Loginov wins first gold for Russia at 2020 IBU World Championships

People on the Russian team see the morning raid as a form of harassment.

“It’s a show, as usual. They came early in the morning, rattled the entire team. And they did it ahead of the relay,” Vladimir Drachev, the president of the Russian biathlon union, said.

Saturday’s schedule of events includes a 4x7.5km relay competition that Loginov is taking part in.

The athlete said the police raid left him “upset.”

“I hope this is not brushed under the rug. I hope something positive comes out of it. I don’t expect official apologies. It upsets me a lot,” he told a Russian sports channel.

Last week, Loginov brought the Russian team its first gold since 2008 by winning the 10km sprint. The Italian leg of the 2020 IBU World Championships concludes on Sunday with a 15km mass start.

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