Athletics

Frenchman walks off podium in Russian snub

Outspoken French biathlon star Martin Fourcade ramped up the tension over allegations of Moscow state-sponsored doping yesterday morning (Singapore time) when he walked off a world championship podium just as Russian rivals were being presented medals.

Fourcade, a 10-time world champion, overall World Cup holder since 2011 and a double Olympic gold medallist, stepped away from the ceremony as the Russian team were getting bronze for finishing third in the mixed relay event.

The Russian team, for their part, refused to shake hands with the 29-year-old silver medallist who has been leading calls for the International Biathlon Union (IBU) to crack down on doping.

Russia's four-man team included Alexander Loginov who has returned to the sport after a two-year doping suspension.

"Our team is a big family and, if somebody behaves in a way which is not politically correct against a member of our team, this hurts me," said Anton Shipulin who was beaten in the sprint by Fourcade.

However, the French star was unrepentant.

"I want to remind you that last week, the president of the Russian federation asked the international federation for a sanction against me for a tweet against Loginov and today, the Russians refuse to shake my hand," said Fourcade.

"I have received a lot of insults on social networks these last few days, but I don't care. I am just sad that nobody is speaking of the sport today because they refused to shake my hand."

Last month, the IBU dropped a probe into 22 Russian competitors named in the bombshell McLaren doping report, which alleged widespread state-backed doping in the country, but said that seven athletes were still under investigation. - AFP

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