Nadezhda Sergeeva, pilot of Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) Bobsled team has tested positive for a banned substance, becoming the second case of a Russian athlete failing a doping test at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The 30-year-old Sergeeva, who finished 12th in the Women’s Bobsleigh, tested positive for trimetazidine, a banned heart medication.
Another Russian tests positive
Earlier this week, Alexander Krushelnitckii, a Russian curler who won a bronze medal at Pyeongchang, tested positive for meldonium, a performance-enhancing drug. He and his team mate, his wife Bryzgalova, will hand back the bronze medals.
Russia’s national Olympic committee is currently banned from the Olympic Games because of doping violations. A total of 168 Russian athletes with no history of doping have been competing as neutral OAR in Pyeongchang. “I don’t do doping” – claimed Sergeeva before the Olympics.
Sergeeva insists she's clean
Earlier this month, in an interview with AP, Sergeeva mentioned other Olympic athletes had warmed to her once she was allowed to compete in Pyeongchang. "I don't know why, but they've started talking to us more than ever before. I feel it. Maybe it's a sign to them that we're clean,' Sergeeva said, "There's a lot of people coming up and saying, 'We're happy you're here'''
During this interview, she was wearing a shirt that read “I don’t do doping.”
Russia preparing an appeal
The Russian delegation at Pyeongchang said that the substance found in Sergeeva’s test was trimetazidine, a medication used for angina sufferers listed as a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency as it affects the metabolism. Russian Federation’s president, Alexander Zubkov told AP that the bobsled pilot denied taking the substance. He also said that she passed a doping test five days earlier.
“Her previous test was negative on 13 February and the team’s medical staff did not prescribe the drug,” Zubkov said. “She confirms she took no such medication and the team confirms she was not issued any medication. Federation representatives at the Olympics are starting to prepare a defense.”
Back in 2014, Zubkov, a former bobsledder himself, was given a life-time ban and was stripped of two gold medals by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for doping at the Sochi Winter Olympics. His life-time ban was eventually converted to a one-off ban for this Olympics. The IOC’s executive board is set to rule weather Russia will be reinstated for Sunday’s closing ceremony.