Russian bobsledder Voevoda banned for life from Olympics

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ZURICH (Reuters) – Russian bobsledder Alexey Voevoda has been given a life ban from the Olympics for anti-doping violations at the Sochi Games where he won two gold medals, the International Olympic Committee IOC) said on Monday.

The decision comes two weeks after the IOC banned Russia from next year’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics for what it called “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of the anti-doping system.

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.

The 37-year-old Voevoda, who could not immediately be reached for comment, won gold in the two-man and four-man bobsled but the IOC said he and the Russian team had been disqualified from both.

Previously, Alexander Zubkov, Voevoda’s team mate in both events, was also found guilty of anti-doping violations and disqualified.

The 43-year-old Zubkov, who has denied wrongdoing, is one of more than 20 Russian athletes who have since appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The IOC decision increased the number of Russian athletes banned for life from the Olympics over alleged doping violations at the Sochi Games to more than 30.

Russia has denied allegations of state-sponsored doping, saying it is the victim of a politicised dirty tricks campaign designed to besmirch its reputation and curb its sporting success.

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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