EXCLUSIVE-Russian agency plans to suspend figure skater over doping document forgery – sources
By Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber
MOSCOW, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Russia's anti-doping agency plans to hand Olympic figure skater Maria Sotskova a lengthy suspension for submitting a forged document to explain a doping violation, two sources with knowledge of the situation told Reuters.
The document, which Reuters was unable to review, was sent to the agency, RUSADA, earlier this year, the sources said.
The 20-year-old athlete did not respond to a request for comment.
RUSADA said any information pertaining to the results of doping tests remained confidential until made public by its disciplinary anti-doping committee. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) referred questions to RUSADA.
The sources said Sotskova had tested positive for a substance on WADA's prohibited list before providing a forged document to explain its presence in her sample. They did not name the substance.
One of the sources said Sotskova, who finished eighth at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, would receive a 10-year suspension for the offences.
Russian sport has been rocked by doping scandals since a 2015 report commissioned by WADA found evidence of mass doping among track and field athletes.
The country has since pledged to repair its image as it continues to face international scrutiny for its anti-doping practices.
Figure skating is a prestige sport for Russia. The country has an outstanding record at the Olympics and world championships in the sport.
In response to Reuters' questions about the suspension, Russia's Figure Skating Federation said: "Given that there is no official information about Maria Sotskova on RUSADA's website, the federation cannot comment on this issue."
It added that Sotskova, who announced her retirement in July, had not been on the national team since May 2019 and that she had last taken part in a competition last year.
The International Skating Union (ISU), the sport's global governing body, said it did not comment on pending disciplinary proceedings, including those pertaining to anti-doping.
In addition to her eighth-place finish at the Olympics, Sotskova also finished eighth at the 2017 and 2018 world championships. She won silver at the 2017 ISU Grand Prix Final, two months before the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Ten months after the 2018 Olympics, she placed 16th at the Russian national championships.
(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Mike Collett-White)
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