Russian Olympic curler pulls out of CAS doping hearing

Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky, who failed a doping test at the Winter Olympics, has pulled out of a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing to discuss his case, saying it was "stupid" to deny the presence of meldonium in his system

The Russian curler who failed a doping test at the Winter Olympics has pulled out of a hearing about his case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the RIA Novosti state news agency reported.

It quoted the head of the Russian delegation at the Games, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, as saying that Alexander Krushelnitsky had withdrawn from the CAS hearing.

Krushelnitsky, who failed two tests after winning a bronze medal with his wife Anastasia Bryzgalova in the mixed doubles curling, sent a message to RIA Novosti saying "I confirm this."

The CAS hearing is set for 2:00 pm Korean time (0500 GMT) on Thursday, according to the court's website.

RIA Novosti also published a statement from Krushelnitsky in which he said that it was "stupid to deny" the fact of doping when the A and B tests had shown the presence of a banned substance, meldonium.

"I am ready for the appropriate verdict, which in such cases is predictably identical," he said.

"Due to this, having weighed all the pros and cons, I decided to pull out of the holding of the CAS hearing over my situation. I consider that under the current rules it is useless and pointless," he said.

The athlete has said that the positive tests were a shock, while Russia's sports minister Pavel Kolobkov said that there was no point for him in taking the endurance-boosting drug as it was "pointless" for curling.

Krushelnitsky was one of 168 athletes passed as "clean" and allowed to compete as neutrals after a targeted testing programme stretching back over several months.

A source close to the case told AFP that Russia has paid the $15 million it was fined in December when it was suspended by the International Olympic Committee for mass doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The payment of the fine is one of the IOC's key criteria in deciding whether to lift Russia's suspension before the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics closing ceremony on Sunday.