The Ukrainian biathlon federation announced that Olga Abramova was the athlete who tested positive for mildronate, which was added to the WADA Prohibited List this year and has been banned for use in competition since January 1st.
Abramova was born in Russia and competed for Russia early in her career, including a second-place finish at a European Cup race in 2011. But seeing few options for herself with the Russian national team, she switched nationalities in 2012 and began racing for Ukraine in 2013.
She received her first World Cup starts in 2014, although she did not represent Ukraine at the Olympics in Sochi. At last year’s World Championships in Kontiolahti, Finland, however, she snagged two top-ten finishes.
Now 27 years old, Abramova opened the season with a seventh-place finish in the World Cup sprint in Östersund, Sweden, in December.
The International Biathlon Union announced on February 4 that an unidentified athlete had tested positive for a substance newly added to the banned list.
“The athlete, WADA and the respective National Federation were notified according to the IBU Anti-Doping Rules in compliance with the WADA Code,” the IBU announced in their press release at the time.
However in their own press release acknowledging that Abramova is the athlete in question, the Ukrainian federation stated that they were informed by the IBU on February 7.
In the more recent press release, the Ukrainian federation stated that mildronate was present in a medication prescribed to Abramova in November 2015. The positive test came from a sample collected on January 10 at the World Cup in Ruhpolding, Germany, where Ambramova finished 26th in the mass start.
Her provisional suspension will stand until she decides whether or not to have her “B” sample opened, and the case will proceed from there.
In their press release the Ukrainian federation wrote that they are trying to clarify the situation with the IBU.
It is not Ukraine’s first time stating that an athlete tested positive because of a prescribed medication. In 2011 Oksana Khvostenko tested positive for ephedrine at World Championships, allegedly due to a cold medicine. The Ukrainian women’s team was stripped of their silver medal in the World Championship relay.
Last year, Ukrainian biathlete Sergui Sednev was also banned after retroactive testing of stored samples revealed that he had been using the blood-doping drug EPO.
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Chelsea Little is FasterSkier's Editor-At-Large. A former racer at Ford Sayre, Dartmouth College and the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, she is a PhD candidate in aquatic ecology in the @Altermatt_lab at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. You can follow her on twitter @ChelskiLittle.