The decision to strip the two retired Olympic champions, Svetlana Sleptsova and Evgeny Ustyugov, of their titles follows an analysis of data from Russia's anti-doping agency laboratory in Moscow, the union said.

Sleptsova and Ustyugov will appeal the decision, the TASS news agency reported, citing the head of the Russian Biathlon Union Vladimir Drachev.

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Last year, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) handed Russia a four-year ban from competing under its flag at major international sporting events, including this year's Tokyo Olympics, after finding Moscow had tampered with laboratory data.

The sanctions, which Russia will appeal, bar the country from hosting major international events for a four-year period.

Biathletes Sleptsova and Ustyugov were first charged in Nov. 2018.

"(The two athletes) were charged with anti-doping rule violations based on analytical findings recorded in the Moscow Laboratory Information Management System database in respect of samples collected from them in 2013," the IBU said.

The IBU's ruling means Ustyugov loses a gold medal title won during a relay competition in the 2014 Olympic Games, which were held in Sochi in Russia.

The Russian biathletes would also be disqualified from the sport for the next two years, the IBU said.

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23/01/2021 AT 17:56