Russian Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (RBSF) President Alexander Zubkov has given a "100 per cent guarantee" that the country will not boycott the 2017 World Championships after Sochi was stripped of the event by the sport’s worldwide governing body.
The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) decided to remove the World Championships, scheduled for February 13 to 26, from the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games host city on Tuesday (December 13).
It came as a result of the evidence of state-sponsored Russian doping at events, including Sochi 2014, uncovered in the second part of the McLaren Report.
Evidence published in the report from Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren suggests more than 1,000 home athletes are implicated, including medal winners in sliding sports.
The IBSF Executive Committee duly felt that "during this difficult time it is prudent not to organise such an event in Russia".
"The Russian Bobsleigh Federation has put a great effort in the preparation of the World Championships, but the current climate would make it nearly impossible to appreciate the efforts of the Organising Committee to host a great event or the quality of the Sanki Sliding Center as one of the best tracks in the world," they added in a statement.
Before the the decision was made, a boycott threat had come from several nations including Britain, the United States, Latvia and South Korea who are due to compete at the World Championships.
The IBSF’s choice led to suggestions that the Russian team may boycott the World Championships in protest at being stripped of the event.
Zubkov, named by former Moscow Laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov as having his sample illegally tampered with at Sochi 2014, where he won gold medals in the two and four-man bobsleigh event, in an interview with the New York Times in May, has quelled such claims by confirming Russia would send a team to the competition.
"I give you a hundred per cent guarantee that we will not be boycotting the Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championship, which will not be held in our country,” Zubkov, who clinched two and four-man bobsleigh titles at his home Games, told Russia's official news agency TASS.
"We will come and prove that we are able to fight at any Championship.
"We will also prove that we are the world leaders and will be fighting for medals."
The RBSF had said yesterday that they "accepted" the IBSF decision, although criticism continues to mount from other areas of Russia.
Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov criticised the way the IBSF announced the verdict without, he claims, contacting the RBSF, while Vladimir Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov hit out at the McLaren Report for what he called “baseless allegations”.
State Duma deputy Igor Lebedev went even further in suggesting to Championat.com how the decision was a form of revenge for the Russian military victory in Aleppo in Syria.
He also expressed concerns that clamour may grow to strip Russia of the FIFA World Cup in 2018.
The reaction of athletes has been largely positive, while the International Olympic Committee (IOC) told insidethegames that they "welcome the decision taken by the IBSF which is fully in line with the recommendations of the Olympic Summit and the IOC Executive Board".
A new location for the Championships is due to be determined in the coming days, with Königssee in Germany emerging as a possible replacement.