Skeleton: Laura Deas frustrated to miss out as 'banned' Russian wins Skeleton World Cup

XXIII Olympic Winter Games
Venue: Pyeongchang, South Korea Dates: 9-25 February
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Welsh slider Laura Deas has admitted her frustrations after being deprived of a European medal at the latest Skeleton World Cup in Innsbruck.

Elena Nikitina, who has been banned from the Olympics, won the event with Deas in sixth, but fourth in the European event.

Nikitina won the European Championship with Deas coming fourth, missing out on a European medal by 0.01 seconds.

"It is a frustrating situation," said 29-year-old Deas.

In November 2017, Nikitina was stripped of her Olympic bronze medal and banned from future Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), for breaching anti-doping rules at Sochi 2014.

The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation allowed Nikitina to compete after lifting its initial ban.

Nikitina challenges IOC ruling

She was among the Russians banned for life since the IOC began investigating claims of doping at Sochi 2014, but is appealing against the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The IOC has banned Russia from competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Russian athletes who can prove they are clean will be allowed to compete in South Korea under a neutral flag.

But athletes must not have been disqualified or declared ineligible for any violation of anti-doping rules.

"I know at this moment in time the IBSF are doing everything they can to protect clean athletes," said Deas.

"I am a strong supporter of clean sport and take every step I can to make sure I am clean. All I can do is look after my own performance."

Deas' consistent performances

Deas has been a consistent performer in the World Cup series this year and the leading British slider ahead of reigning Olympic champion Lizzie Yarnold.

An Olympic medal in Pyeongchang in February, 2018 is the target for Deas, who lies in fifth in the overall World Cup standings.

"It is positive I am around the top six and doing better than last season," she said.

"The consistency across the World Cup series is important looking to the Winter Olympics.

"I would love to win a medal at the Olympics and it is something I can do.

"I have beaten everyone in the international field at some time or other and I have the self-belief I can be on the podium."

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