Elena Anikina has been elected President of the Russian Bobsleigh Federation ©RBF

Russian Bobsleigh Federation (RBF) vice-president and interim head Elena Anikina was elected President of the organisation at an Extraordinary Meeting in Sochi today.

Anikina, who led Sochi's successful bid for the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, beat rival Andrei Pimashkov by 25 votes to eight to secure the role on a permanent basis.

According to Russia's official state news agency TASS, Oleg Sokolov withdrew his candidacy before the vote, leaving a two-horse race between Anikina and the businessman from Krasnoyarsk.

Anikina had been appointed Interim President to replace Alexander Zubkov, who had been forced to stand down after the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation gave him with a two-year doping ban for his involvement in the state-sponsored scheme at Sochi 2014.

The 57-year-old was today elected to serve until after the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.

Under the rules of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, new elections must be held within six months after the end of the Winter Olympic Games.  

It remains possible Zubkov, whose suspension prohibits him from holding a role in any National Federation, could eventually return.

Zubkov, stripped of the Olympic gold medals he won in the two and four-man events at Sochi 2014, is banned until December 12, 2020 but has lodged an appeal against the sanction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Elena Anikina, right, has been elected to serve a four-year term through to 2023 ©Getty Images
Elena Anikina, right, has been elected to serve a four-year term through to 2023 ©Getty Images

It is feasible that Anikina, also a former director of international relations at the Russian Olympic Committee, could stand down to allow Zubkov to retain control of the RBF.

She refused to rule out finding some role for him after the end of his two-year suspension. 

"If Alexander passes the disqualification and expresses a desire to work in the Federation, we will certainly find a place and application for him," Anikina told TASS. 

"But only after the expiration of the disqualification.

"Now we simply have no right."

Zubkov was sanctioned after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) found him guilty of knowingly participating in the "systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system at Sochi 2014.

Fellow bobsledders Alexander Kasjanov, Aleksei Pushkarev, Ilvir Khuzin and Alexey Voevoda were also banned by the IBSF.

The case against Zubkov is said to be one of the strongest as his sample included "physiologically impossible levels of salt".

The CAS also ruled that he had provided clean urine before Sochi - a key barometer in establishing guilt of the individual athletes involved.

Zubkov has so far failed to hand back his medals to the IOC after a court in Moscow refused to recognise the CAS ruling against him.