Thursday 27 October 2016

Five Russian canoeists banned from taking part in the Rio Olympics

Mark Staniforth

Published 26/07/2016 | 10:41

The Olympic flag and Russian flag. Photo: Paul Gilham/Getty Images
The Olympic flag and Russian flag. Photo: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

The International Canoe Federation has become the latest governing body to ban a number of Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics in the wake of Richard McLaren's damning report into state-sponsored doping.

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The ICF ruled five sprint canoeists - Elena Aniushina, Natalia Podolskaia, Alexander Dyachenko, Andrey Kraitor and Alexey Korovashkov - ineligible to compete at the Games, but stopped short of issuing a federation-wide ban.

The decision follows a move by both rowing and swimming to ban several Russian athletes in the wake of the International Olympic Committee's controversial decision to let the sports decide on Russia's involvement in Rio.

Swimming's governing body FINA banned three Russian swimmers, with four more being withdrawn by the Russian Olympic Committee, while rowing's international federation FISA barred three Russian athletes.

ICF secretary general Simon Toulson said: "This is a bitter blow for the Olympic movement and we are saddened that our sport in implicated. We have taken swift action and removed all offending athletes where doping evidence exists.

"The ICF will continue its strong zero-tolerance stance and remove all athletes that contravene its rules in any way.

"We are clear that if you step out of line you won't make the start line."

Dyachenko won the men's K2 gold medal at London 2012 along with his team-mate Iurii Postrigai, who will also miss out on Rio although he was not implicated in the report.

The ICF had been expected to crack down hard having issued one-year bans to the Romania and Belarus teams earlier this month for repeated doping violations.

it said the athletes concerned were suspended pending further investigation following the release of additional information naming those implicated by the McLaren report.

Canoeing is the fourth sport to ban a number of Russian athletes from Rio, following athletics, which barred the entire Russian track and field team last month with the exception of those who can prove their innocence.

Weightlifting, which had been expected to crack down hard following a series of doping improprieties involving Russian athletes, stopped short of a blanket ban, saying on Tuesday it would "evaluate the evidence" on an individual basis.

FINA barred Nikita Lobintsev, Vladimir Morozov and Daria Ustinova because their names appeared in McLaren's report, and the Russian authorities withdrew Mikhail Dovgalyuk, Yulia Efimova, Natalia Lovtcova and open-water swimmer Anastasia Krapivina.

FISA said Ivan Balandin from the men's eight had been named by McLaren for having a "false positive" test, while Anastasia Karabelshchikova and Ivan Podshivalov were ineligible having served doping bans in the past.

However, there remains the possibility of legal challenges from Russian athletes barred due to previous bans - as directed by the IOC - because the same sanction does not apply to athletes from other nations.

A number of sports are yet to declare their position with regard to Russian athletes in Rio, although any more full federation bans now appear unlikely.

Early on Tuesday, wrestling's governing body, United World Wrestling, said it had requested more information and evidence regarding wrestlers said to be involved in "disappearing positive tests".

The International Handball Federation has written to the Russian federation to ask for the whereabouts of the women's team to enable immediate testing, while boxing, gymnastics and modern pentathlon are among those who have told Press Association Sport they are assessing matters.

Archery and equestrian, however, have joined tennis in confirming the eligibility of the Russian entries, while the Russian media is reporting their seven-strong sailing team are already in Rio and will be allowed to compete.

Press Association

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