Olga Zaitseva is among the three biathletes banned from the Games for life ©Getty Images

Russia has escaped being stripped of three major biathlon events after the International Biathlon Union (IBU) decided the competitions would remain in the country during an Executive Board meeting here today.

The nation was at risk of losing the World Cup Final in Tyumen and two second-tier IBU Cups in Uvat and Khanty-Mansiysk next month as a result of the country's doping scandal, which led to Russian athletes competing as neutrals at Pyeongchang 2018.

The IBU Executive Board evaluated whether to hold the events in Russia as planned or to switch them to an alternative venue after "new evidence" emerged.

It was thought this related to the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) database obtained by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and shared with both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Federations.

In a statement following the meeting, the IBU claimed the IOC had "no concerns" as the events were awarded to the scandal-hit country before the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was declared non-compliant in November 2015.

They therefore saw no problem with the events remaining in the country, the IBU said.

"The IBU decided on the schedule for the 2017-2018 season prior to RUSADA's non-compliance," a statement read.

The IBU added that the Association of International Olympic Winter Federations had decided in December that all competitions across their respective sports due to be held in the 2017 to 2018 season would remain in Russia "unless new important and legally backed evidence is brought up".

The IBU decision was taken during an Executive Committee meeting at Pyeongchang 2018 ©Getty Images
The IBU decision was taken during an Executive Committee meeting at Pyeongchang 2018 ©Getty Images

The decision was taken by the IBU despite the Court of Arbitration for Sport recently accusing Russia of state-sponsored doping when publishing full verdicts explaining why they dismissed the appeals of 45 athletes from the country who were hoping to compete here.

The full Oswald Commission decision on Olga Zaitseva, one of three biathletes disqualified from Sochi 2014 and banned from the Olympic Games for life by the IOC, is also one of the stronger verdicts delivered.

It claims the double Olympic champion, stripped of her Sochi 2014 relay silver medal, was a knowing participant in the "systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system at the Games four years ago.

The Commission's full reasoned decision also says samples given by Zaitseva, Yana Romanova and Olga Vilukhina had marks indicative of tampering and were found to contain abnormal levels of salt.

The IBU relegated Russia from a full to a provisional member in December as punishment for the doping scandal.

They also ruled in November of last year that the country would not be given World Cups in the 2018 to 2019 season.

The IBU have always claimed they are not as affected by the Russian saga as other International Federations as all three athletes implicated are now retired.

The final event of the World Cup season in Tyumen, stripped of the 2021 World Championships by the IBU in February of last year, is due to be held from March 20 to 25.

The IBU Cup events are scheduled in Uvat and Khanty-Mansiysk for March 9 to 11 and March 13 to 17 respectively.