Sports Sochi loses right to host World Bobsleigh Championship

Sochi loses right to host World Bobsleigh Championship

Russia’s city of Sochi has lost its right to host the 2017 bobsleigh and skeleton World Championship, after a decision from the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) on Tuesday night.

The IBSF said it would not be "prudent" to hold the championships in Russia, a country accused of state-sponsored doping.

A report on December 9 claimed more than 1,000 Russians benefited from a doping cover-up between 2011 and 2015.

A new host city will be named for the February event in the forthcoming days.

According to Russia's RIA news agency, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the decision to strip Sochi of the championships was "politicised and without grounds".

The executive committee of the IBSF said it had made the decision because it wanted to focus on sport rather than accusations.

It is understood a number of German venues have offered to host the event, along with the Swiss town of St Moritz.

On Monday, Latvia became the first nation to say they would boycott the World Championships, citing that "the Olympic spirit was stolen in 2014".

High-profile American bobsledder Lolo Jones had also urged the IBSF to move its flagship event, saying she wanted to compete in a competition that was "drug free and safe", adding Sochi was "not an option".

In November, British Olympic skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold had said she may boycott the championships because of concerns over doping.

In July, an investigation commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) said Russia's sports ministry "directed, controlled and oversaw" manipulation of urine samples provided by its athletes.

A second Wada report from Canadian law professor and sports lawyer Dr Richard McLaren said the London 2012 Olympics was "corrupted on an unprecedented scale".

According to McLaren's report, salt and coffee were used to manipulate Russian samples and the system was refined over the course of the London 2012 Olympics, 2013 Worlds in Moscow and the 2014 Winter

Olympics in Sochi to protect likely Russian medal winners.

Russia won 72 medals at the London Games, 21 of which were gold, and 33 medals at Sochi, 13 of which were gold.

Source: BBC