MOSCOW, February 9 (R-Sport) – A Lithuanian biathlete has admitted doping and offered an apology, the International Biathlon Union said Sunday.
Karolis Zlatkauskas, 28, waived his right to have his "B" sample tested and faces a ban after an out-of-competition test taken on December 19 found blood-booster EPO in his urine.
Zlatkauskas has been a regular on the biathlon World Cup circuit since 2005, although he has only finised one race inside the top 50. He competed at the Turin 2006 Winter Olympics, but is not competing at this month's Games in Sochi.
“Mr. Zlatkauskas admitted that he made a mistake,” IBU said in a website statement. “He pointed out in a letter to the IBU that with his action he deeply disappointed the IBU, the Lithuanian Biathlon Federation and his team. He closed his comments by offering an apology to the whole biathlon family for his actions.”
Zlatkauskas' provisional suspension for a failed test remains in force until the IBU anti-doping hearing panel convenes to rule on his case.
Zlatkauskas is one of three Russian and Lithuanian biathletes currently suspended after failing tests. One of the other two banned biathletes is Russia's Irina Starykh, who was considered a medal contender for the Sochi Olympics, but has been withdrawn from the host nation's team.
The third name has not been officially disclosed, but sports website championat.com has reported it was Russia's Ekaterina Iourieva, who was banned for two years in 2009 also for using EPO and could face a life ban for any repeat offense.