Alexander Zubkov has vowed to defend the trio of athletes suspended from IBSF events ©Getty Images

Russian Bobsleigh Federation (RBF) President Alexander Zubkov has claimed he will defend the rights of three bobsleigh athletes provisionally suspended by the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF).

A total of five athletes were sanctioned by the IBSF last week on doping grounds, including Zubkov, who was stripped of the two Olympic gold medals he won at Sochi 2014.

The now retired Aleksey Voevoda, whom Zubkov won the two gold medals with, was also sanctioned by the governing body.

Current athletes Alexander Kasyanov, Alexey Pushkarev and Ilvir Khuzin were the remaining three sanctioned.

Zubkov, controversially re-elected as RBF President despite being stripped of his Olympic titles, has vowed to defend the trio.

"We intend to fight to the last, I will not give them athletes," he told Russia's official state news agency TASS.

"Believe me, now it is more important for me to defend the guys than to achieve my justification.

"Every suspended athlete on it will surely present his point of view.

"I am very sad that athletes who have already been punished by a ban on participation in the Olympics in 2018 were suspended."

Kasyanov, Pushkarev and Khuzin received a temporary suspension from IBSF at the end of November 2017, but the governing body's independent disciplinary panel promptly reversed the decision and the athletes were able to compete in the World Cup competition.

Alexander Kasyanov is among the athletes provisionally suspended by the IBSF ©Getty Images
Alexander Kasyanov is among the athletes provisionally suspended by the IBSF ©Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Disciplinary Commission under the leadership of Denis Oswald found Zubkov, Voevod, Kasyanov, Pushkarev and Khuzin guilty of violating the anti-doping rules and cancelled their results from Sochi 2014, prohibiting them from participating in the Olympics for life.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) generally supported this conclusion, however, although it ruled against lifelong suspension.

The five athletes were suspended by the IBSF following the receipt of the reasoned decisions by CAS in relation to their Sochi 2014 cases.

"The Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRV) established by the International Olympic Committee and confirmed by CAS constitute also ADRVs under the Anti-Doping Rules of the IBSF,” the IBSF announced last week.

"The IBSF is tasked with the Result Management outside of the Olympic Games.

"This process is fully in progress.

"As soon as the Result Management has been completed the IBSF will issue further information."

At Sochi 2014, Zubkov and Voyevoda won gold medals in two-man and four-man bobsleigh.

Kasyanov twice took fourth place - in a double with Maxim Belugin and in a four with Belugin, Khuzin and Pushkarev.