Latvian biathlete banned from World Championships

  • 2007-02-07
  • From wire reports

JUST SAY NO: Latvians boast about their natural athleticism, yet how much of that is actually natural?

RIGA - Latvian biathlete Ilmars Bricis was banned from participating in the IBU Biathlon World Championships for five days after abnormally high hemoglobin levels were discovered in his blood. The blood tests were taken before the men's 10 kilometer sprint on Feb. 3. Medics detected increased contents of hemoglobin, which suggests steroid use, in Bricis' blood and immediately held him from participating in the race.

After holding a meeting, the International Biathlon Union decided to disqualify the Latvian from participation in the competition for five days, said Marita Vilcina from the Latvian Olympic Team's sports and science department.
In addition to missing the 10 kilometer event, Bricis sat out the pursuit and individual competitions.

Bricis underwent a repeated medical examination as The Baltic Times was going to press on Feb. 7. If his test results are back to normal, the Latvian will be allowed to participate in the World Championship's 4x6 kilometer relay.
The biathlete won bronze in the 20 kilometer race at the 2001 World Championships and in the 10 kilometer sprint in 2005. Having participated in five Winter Olympics, his best performance is fourth place in the pursuit competition at the 2006 Games in Turin.