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22 Feb, 2020 11:10

‘They took our rifles as if we were dangerous criminals’: Russian biathlete Loginov on Italian police raid

‘They took our rifles as if we were dangerous criminals’: Russian biathlete Loginov on Italian police raid

Russian biathlete Alexander Loginov, who was subjected to a search by Italian police on Saturday, said that officers broke into their hotel room early in the morning while he was sleeping and confiscated his rifle.

The unexpected search, which took place hours before the men’s relay race at the IBU World Championship, left the team in a state of shock, with Russian biathlon managers calling the raid an act of harassment.

READ MORE: Italian police search surging Russian biathlete Loginov HOURS before race

We were sleeping in one hotel room together with Evgeny Garanichev [Russian biathlon team member],” Loginov said.

We were awakened by police which broke into the room. They immediately took our rifles, as if we were dangerous criminals and told us not to move. Half-naked, we watched them checking our personal belongings. However, they were interested only in mine.”

The search warrant issued by Italian police targeted Loginov and his coach Alexander Kasperovich, who reportedly had problems with accreditation.

The police officers, whose raid was reportedly initiated by the International Biathlon Union (IBU), took Loginov’s laptop and mobile phone as part of an investigation into potential doping.

So far, no charges have been brought against Loginov, who has already won two medals at the tournament: gold in the men’s sprint and bronze in pursuit.

Loginov tested positive for a banned substance in 2013, and was later barred from competing. The punishment period ended in 2016.