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Austrian police seize drugs in raid on Kazakh team hotel

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian police said on Thursday they seized medicines in a raid on the Kazakh team's hotel rooms at the biathlon World Championships, while the head of the team's national federation said the substances in question had been approved for use.

Wednesday's late-night raid followed the seizure last month of a box containing used syringes, drug ampoules and International Biathlon Union event accreditations at a petrol station near the Italian border, police said in a statement.

Documents found in the box indicated its contents could be "assigned to" Kazakhstan's biathlon team, they said.

During the raid at the hotel, in which 30 officers took part, "numerous medical products and medicines" were seized and blood and urine samples taken, police added.

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A spokesman for the Kazakh team said he was confident the athletes were authorised to use the substances seized.

"I have the documentation of all the substances we brought to Austria and I'm pretty sure there are no prohibited substances," the National Biathlon Federation of Kazakhstan's secretary general, Manas Ussenov, said.

"We are just waiting for the results of the tests," he said of the urine and blood samples taken from his country's 10 athletes, adding that the results of tests performed on the contents of the box were also pending.

Police said the investigation was continuing.

The championships are taking place in the Austrian Alpine resort of Hochfilzen.

(Reporting by Francois Murphy; additional reporting by Olzhas Auyezov in Almaty; editing by John Stonestreet)