Authorities revisit living quarters of Austrian ski team

The Austrian ski team targeted in vigorous anti-doping raids at the Winter Olympics was revisited by investigators, prompting the head of the nation's ski federation to angrily call for authorities to justify the continuing scrutiny with hard evidence.

Raimund Fabi, press coordinator for Austria 's Olympic committee, told The Associated Press that a witness was questioned Monday, but did not characterize the action as a second raid.

Austria's ski federation president, Peter Schroecksnadel, confirmed to the AP that authorities had come to some apartments but didn't have further details, nor did he know the purpose of the investigators' visit.

He was incensed, however, that authorities had returned at all.

"I think they're going too far with the whole thing," Schroecksnadel said. "This is not sport ... We won't live with this. We can't have our guys going through this. It's no longer about sport, it's just about rumors."

Against the backdrop of the most stringent drug controls in Winter Games history, a series of raids late Saturday night represented the first-ever doping sweep by police on athletes. Six skiers and four biathletes were taken for drug screens by the International Olympic Committee.

Authorities also seized 100 syringes and other material from athletes' housing, but no test results were announced as of Tuesday morning. IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said the Olympic body would only make a detailed announcement if something incriminating was found.

"When there's a violation, the IOC communicates on that," Davies said.

She did say, however, that the IOC would give an indication of when the testing process was completed.

Schroecksnadel challenged the authorities behind the investigation to justify their heavy-handed methods, suggesting that they returned to the Austrians' quarters only because the first sweep had not yielded any evidence of doping.

"Why are the results not here from the guys who were tested?" he said. "They find nothing, this is why they're still breaking into the apartments, because they haven't found anything. They keep coming back. I don't agree with the way they're doing things with this, even if it is the state. It's like the '40s."

The investigation was touched off when World Anti-Doping Agency officers learned that Austrian ski coach Walter Mayer, banned from the Olympics for links to blood doping in 2002 in Salt Lake City , was with the team at the Turin Games. WADA told the IOC of Mayer's presence, which in turn tipped off Italian police.

The night after the raids, authorities took Mayer into custody when he crashed his car into a police blockade 24 kilometers (15 miles) inside Austria 's border with Italy . Schroecksnadel said police took him to a psychiatric facility because it was feared he might commit suicide.

He could face charges in Austria related to his run-in with police, but Italian authorities said they were not seeking his arrest.

Austrian ski officials said they had severed ties with Mayer. He had been in Italy in a private capacity, and had spent one night in the athletes' accommodation. IOC medical commission chief Arne Ljungqvist said Mayer's presence did not break any laws, but violated the "spirit" of his Olympic ban, reports the AP.


Subscribe to Pravda.Ru Telegram channel, Facebook, RSS!

Author`s name Editorial Team