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Danis Zaripov, two other KHL players banned for doping

The International Ice Hockey Federation has issued doping bans to three players in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League. Among them is former Russian national team player Danis Zaripov.

A statement issued by the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) on Tuesday said Danis Zaripov (pictured above, right), Derek Smith and Andrei Konev had been suspended by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) after testing positive for banned substances.

The 36-year-old Zaripov, a three-time world champion who played for Russia at the 2010 Olympics, has been banned until May 2019 after traces of a prohibited stimulant and masking agent were found in samples he provided during the  2016-17 season.

Canadian defenseman Derek Smith has been banned until September 2018, and Russian defenseman Andrei Konev until November 2017, after stimulants were also detected in samples provided by them.

In the statement, the KHL said the 377 doping tests conducted during last season were administered with the help of the IIHF and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), plus the Doping Free Sport Unit of SportAccord, the umbrella organization for international sports federations.

Doping bans are rare in Russian ice hockey, and these came shortly after the Russian government announced sweeping new measures aimed at curbing the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports.

Russia's athletics federation and Paralympic committee remain suspended after two WADA-commissioned reports released in 2016 found evidence of systematic, state-sponsored doping at the highest levels of Russian sports.

Russia's anti-doping agency, RUSADA, also remains suspended over the WADA reports, but last month it was allowed to again plan and coordinate testing under the supervision of international experts.

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