Russian neutral athlete Shubenkov denies doping allegations

Russian neutral athlete and former world champion hurdler Sergey Shubenkov on Thursday denied reports which suggested that he had been tested positive for a banned substance. The 30-year-old Shubenkov was considered clean and was allowed to participate in elite events as a neutral athlete owing to Russia’s two-year ban from international sports.

“In my entire career I have never used any banned substances to train, I have never deceived anyone,” Shubenkov wrote on Instagram. Russian media on Wednesday had reported that Shubenkov had tested positive for furosemide, a diuretic and was facing a two-year ban from sports.

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Shubenkov, who won the world 110 m hurdles in 2015 and silver in 2017 and 2019 claimed the information regarding furosemide found in his samples to be a ‘blatant slander from an unnamed source’. He confirmed that he had received a letter from the Athletic Integrity Unit (AIU), which is against doping in track and field, but said that the content was ‘confidential’. He mentioned that the letter had nothing to do with furosemide and that he was not under any restrictions.

Russia was involved in a massive doping scandal in 2016 as the state hid the systematic use of banned substances at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics came to light. In 2019, the World Anti- Doping Agency hit Russia with a four-year ban from international sports, however, the ban was reduced to two years last November by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.