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Retired Russian biathlete Iourieva handed eight-year ban

By Dmitriy Rogovitskiy

MOSCOW Russia (Reuters) - Ekaterina Iourieva became the second Russian biathlete this week to pick up a doping suspension after the retired 2008 world champion was handed a back-dated eight-year ban by the International Biathlon Union (IBU) on Friday.

The 31-year-old, who quit the sport after failing to earn selection for the Sochi Winter Olympics earlier this year, and Irina Starykh both failed drugs tests conducted in Slovenia last December.

The 'B' samples for both athletes confirmed positive tests for the blood doping agent erythropoietin (EPO).

Starykh's two-year ban was announced by the IBU on Wednesday with Iourieva picking up a longer suspension for her second doping offence after missing two years for testing positive for EPO during a 2008 World Cup event in Ostersund, Sweden.

"The athlete Ekaterina Iourieva is ineligible to compete for a period of eight years, commencing from December 23, 2013," the IBU said in an official statement.

"All competition results obtained from the date her sample was collected are disqualified."

Iourieva won the 15 km individual race at the 2008 World Championships, which were also held in Ostersund, as well as silver in the 10 km individual pursuit and bronze in the 12.5 km mass start event.

(Editing by John O'Brien)

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