Olga Poltoranina is one of the nine athletes provisionally suspended by the IBU ©Getty Images

Nine Kazakhstan biathletes have been provisionally suspended in connection with criminal doping investigations in Austria and Italy, the International Biathlon Union (IBU) announced today.

The nine competitors were among the 10 athletes from the nation detained during last year's IBU World Championships in Hochfilzen.

The athletes involved now have the opportunity to provide the IBU with an "adequate explanation" of the alleged anti-doping rule violation.

The IBU will then decide if any further action should be taken after they have received the clarification from the nine biathletes.

The list of competitors given provisional sanctions today include Asian Games gold medallists Olga Poltoranina and Yan Savitsky,  double Winter Universiade gold medallist Galina Vishnevskaya and Alina Raikova, who claimed the individual title at the 2015 Winter Universiade.

Anton Pantov, a double Winter Universiade medallist, Darya Klimina, Maxim Braun, Anna Kistanova and Vassiliy Potkorytov are the other athletes implicated.

In a statement, the IBU confirmed their provisional suspensions were linked to investigations being carried out in Austria and Italy.

It marks the latest development in the ongoing situation concerning the Kazakhstan biathlon team.

Kazakhstan's biathlon team doctor Khossilbek Tagayev was provisionally suspended in March after the Italian police found banned substance prednisolone in his hotel room.

It came during searches of the accommodation of Kazakhstan's biathlon team during a World Cup event in Antholz in South Tyrol in January, conducted by the Italian police.

Galina Vishnevskaya has also been provisionally suspended by the IBU ©Getty Images
Galina Vishnevskaya has also been provisionally suspended by the IBU ©Getty Images

The raid was directly linked to the probe conducted by Austrian authorities at the Hochfilzen World Championships, where several medical products were seized and 10 athletes were detained. 

Later, the Kazakh athletes implicated took tests to check for doping but they all produced negative results.

The previous month, in East Tyrol, suspicion had loomed over the Kazakh team after a local resident reported seeing passengers in several minibuses disposing of large cardboard boxes at a petrol station.

The police recovered them and it was discovered the boxes contained disposable materials such as syringes and ampoules for injections. 

There were also handwritten notes indicative of doping offences. 

The boxes also contained various accreditations for IBU events and were transferred to the Anti-Doping Agency of Austria.

Analysis found documents and records which showed that the contents of the boxes belonged to the national team of Kazakhstan.

The World Anti-Doping Agency are also investigating and have met with Olle Dahlin, elected IBU President in September.