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Königssee to replace Sochi as host of 2017 IBSF World Championships

The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) has announced that Königssee in Germany will host its 2017 World Championships after the event was stripped from the Russian city of Sochi last week.

As originally planned, the event will take place from February 13-26, shortly after the IBSF World Cup Series event in Innsbruck, Austria.

Four further World Cup events will be held in Germany and Switzerland in January, and the IBSF noted that a European track was prioritised to tie in with next month’s schedule. Königssee will host its own World Cup event from January 23-29.

The IBSF has moved swiftly to find a replacement for Sochi, which saw its hosting rights withdrawn amid the threat of a boycott in response to the doping scandal engulfing Russian sport.

The decision was made following the publication earlier this month of the second part of the McLaren Report into systematic, state-sponsored doping in Russia. Latvia had already pulled out of competing at the Sochi event, while South Korea and the US were also reportedly considering a boycott.

The IBSF said that the decision to relocate the event was made to allow the championships to focus on sport rather than accusations and speculation.

In its search for a new host, the IBSF considered a track that would have minimal financial impact on teams' travel and organisation, and a venue that had experience of hosting a two-week event at short notice. The IBSF also wanted to stick to the original schedule and sought a track that would be available from February 13-26.

In other news, the International Orienteering Federation (IOF) has ruled that the 2017 World Ski Orienteering Championships, which are scheduled to take place in Krasnoyarsk, Russia from March 7-12, will go ahead as planned.

The IOF has said that based upon information received from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), it concludes that there is currently no evidence which indicates that orienteering is involved in systematic doping in Russia as reported by the McLaren Report. Therefore, it said that Russian orienteering athletes participation in IOF events is “not restricted and is welcomed”.