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Russian Starykh banned for two years for doping

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Irina Starykh, who won the women’s 7.5-km sprint at the 2013 European biathlon championship, has been banned for two years for doping, the International Biathlon Union (IBU) said on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO in an out-of-competition test conducted on Dec. 23, 2013 in Slovenia.

"Irina Starykh is ineligible to compete for a period of two years, commencing from December 23, 2013," the IBU said in a statement.

"All Irina Starykh's competition results obtained from the date the sample was collected are struck off with the resulting consequences."

The case can be appealed within 21 days at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Starykh, who was seen as a medal hope for Russia at the Sochi Olympics last February, was withdrawn from the team on the eve of the Games following a positive 'A' sample.

(Reporting By Dmitriy Rogovitskiy; Editing by Rex Gowar)

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