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Russian neutral athlete Shubenkov denies doping allegations

January 29, 2021

MOSCOW: Russia’s former world champion hurdler Sergey Shubenkov on Thursday denied reports suggesting he had tested positive for a banned substance, as Russia struggles to restore its reputation following an international doping scandal.

Shubenkov, 30, was considered clean and allowed to participate in elite events as a neutral athlete after Russia was hit with a two-year ban from international sport.

“In my entire career I have never used any banned substances to train, I have never deceived anyone,” Shubenkov wrote on Instagram.

Russia’s Match TV on Wednesday reported that Shubenkov had tested positive for furosemide, a diuretic that is considered a masking agent, and was facing a two-year ban from sports.

Shubenkov, who won the world 110m hurdles title in 2015 and silvers in 2017 and 2019, dubbed as “blatant slander from unnamed sources” information that furosemide was found in his samples.

He confirmed that he had received a letter from the Athletic Integrity Unit (AIU), which combats doping in track and field, but said its contents were “confidential”.

He said it did not concern furosemide and that he was not under any restrictions.

Shubenkov by Thursday had not appeared on the AIU list of sanctioned athletes.

Russia was embroiled in a doping scandal in 2016 after a state-backed conspiracy designed to cover up the systemic use of banned substances at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics came to light.

The World Anti-Doping Agency in 2019 hit Russia with a four-year ban from international sports, but in November last year the ban was reduced to two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.