Andreas Veerpalu: I wasn't running away

Andreas Veerpalu.
Andreas Veerpalu. Source: ERR

ERR has received a statement from skier Andreas Veerpalu, issued by his mother, Angela, admitting his guilt in doping activities at the world championship in Seefeld, Austria, and apologising for the incident.

Veerpalu, 24, was detained on Wednesday by Austrian police, together with fellow Estonian skier Karel Tammjärv, two Austrian skiers, and a Kazakh skier, as well as several other individuals. After being released on Thursday, Veerpalu, together with his father Andrus, a former olympic medallist skiing star, went back to their hotel.

They later left without an announcement, some time before a press conference where Karel Tammjärv admitted he had been involved in doping activities for over two years, after being introduced to a German doctor, Mark Schmidt, who facilitated him with the necessary substances.

The two Estonian skiers had reported admitted their guilt to their coach, Anti Saarepuu, also appearing at the press conference, after being detained.

Andreas Veerpalu's statement reads:

''I would like to address the Estonian people to clarify what happened, having been accused of fleeing the public. My intention was not to escape, but simply to get home to my family''.

''I have given statements to the police and confessed honestly to my guilt in breaching anti-doping rules. I do not wish to interact with the media''.

''I am ashamed of what happened, and apologise to everyone I have caused harm to by my actions''.

Veerpalu senior, Andreas' father, Andrus, has not made any similar statement. Andrus Veerpalu has also been placed at the centre of a web of activities, not only connected with the Estonian skiers but also the Kazakh skier, Alexey Poltoranin, who Andrus had worked as an advisor for, since 2013.

Andrus Veerpalu was cleared of doping infringements in 2013 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), an international quasi-judicial body established to settle disputes related to sport through arbitration, headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland. The court did state, however, that it was likely he had broken the rules.

Doping test methodologies were overhauled by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after Andrus Veerpalu had initially been found to have exceeded permissible levels of growth hormones (HGH). His defence had revolved primarily around the tests being flawed, as well as a claimed genetic mutation which makes his HGH levels, after exertion, many times higher than the norm.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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