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International Olympic Committee bans 11 Russian winter athletes for doping

Reuters

ZURICH (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee said on Friday it had banned 11 Russian athletes for life after they committed doping offences at the 2014 Sochi winter games.

Among them are speed skaters Ivan Skobrev, a two-time medalist at the Vancouver 2010 Games, and Artem Kuznetcov.

Along with lugers Tatyana Ivanova and Albert Demchenko, who both won silver medals in Sochi, cross-country skiers Nikita Kryukov, Alexander Bessmertnykh --both silver medallists-- and Natalia Matveeva, bobsledders Liudmila Udobkina and Maxim Belugin, and ice hockey players Tatiana Burina and Anna Shchukina, they were disqualified from the events they took part in.

They were also stripped of their medals and banned from future Olympic events, the IOC Disciplinary Commission said.

The decision is part of an IOC investigation into doping of Russian athletes at the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Earlier this month the IOC banned Russia from next year’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics for what it called "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system.

Investigations by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the IOC confirmed allegations of widespread doping among Russian athletes across many sports as well as tampering with Russian athletes' samples during the Sochi 2014 winter Games.

The IOC, however, left the door open for Russian athletes with a clean history of non-doping to be invited to compete in Pyeongchang as neutrals.

"To date, the number of cases opened by the (IOC) disciplinary commission (for Sochi 2014) has reached 46 after additional findings from the re-analyses," the IOC said. It has re-tested all of the samples from Russian athletes from those Games, banning dozens for life in recent months.

"All 46 of them have been handled, of which three have been filed. As some investigations are still ongoing (notably the forensic analysis of the bottles), it cannot be excluded that there might be new elements that would justify opening further new cases and holding more hearings," it said.

The Pyeongchang Olympics run from Feb. 9-25 with Russian athletes competing under the Olympic flag as Olympic athletes from Russia (OAR).

(Reporting by John Revill; editing by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Ralph Boulton)