Police raid Kazakh biathlon team lodgings ahead of worlds

Vincenz Kriegs-Au, left, speaker of the Austrian Federal Office of Criminal Investigation, and Nicole Resch, secretary general of the International Biathlon Union, attend a news conference at the biathlon World Championships in Hochfilzen, Austria, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. Austrian police searched the rooms of the Kazakhstan biathlon team. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Nicole Resch, secretary general of the International Biathlon Union, speaks during a news conference at the biathlon World Championships in Hochfilzen, Austria, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. Austrian police searched the rooms of the Kazakhstan biathlon team. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

HOCHFILZEN, Austria — The Austrian federal criminal agency said Thursday it raided the lodgings of the Kazakh national biathlon team on the eve of the world championships on suspicion of doping.

Police said they seized medical equipment, drugs and mobile phones late Wednesday, adding that criminal authorities were investigating whether Austrian anti-doping laws have been breached.

Immediately after the raid, anti-doping officials visited the Kazakh team to conduct tests and take blood and urine samples.

Kazakhstan competed Thursday as planned in a 2x6-2x7.5-kilometer mixed relay, the opening event of the world championships. The team of Olga Poltoranina, Anna Kristanova, Maxim Braun and Yan Savitskiy finished 11th, nearly two minutes behind gold medalist Germany.

IBU general secretary Nicole Resch said there had been no reason to prevent Kazakhstan from competing.

"We fully trust the investigations by the authorities," Resch said. "Until now, we don't know if banned substances or banned methods are involved. Only then we can take measures."

Police have been preparing the raid since a cardboard box was found at a nearby petrol station last month. The box contained used medical equipment, including needles, infusions and ampules, as well as written notes and accreditations to several IBU events.

Police said an investigation of the written notes led them to the Kazakh team.

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