International Biathlon Union clears 22 athletes over doping claims

Biathlete in action
Biathlon was one of the sports cited in the McLaren report

The International Biathlon Union has cleared 22 athletes after investigating claims made in the second McLaren report into doping in sport.

But it has asked Russian officials to explain what role seven others played in alleged state-sponsored doping.

The IBU opened an inquiry last month into 29 unnamed athletes named in the report.

It now says that "there is not sufficient evidence" to continue investigating 22 of them.

The competitors implicated ranged from Olympic medal winners to regional-level or junior athletes with no major achievements.

Two more athletes who were already suspended remain so and are being investigated by the International Olympic Committee.

The IBU statement follows a petition signed by many top biathletes calling for tough action on the issue of doping. The IBU said the petition was "appreciated and taken seriously".

The federation's executive board will meet on 9 February, the day the World Championships start in Hochfilzen, Austria, to decide on the status of the seven athletes still under investigation.

Earlier this month, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) lifted the provisional suspension of four Russian skeleton athletes who were suspended following the second McLaren report.

The IBSF said there was currently "insufficient evidence" to continue the suspension.

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