Russian Equestrians Confirmed for Olympics

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Mister X ridden by Inessa Merkulova. File photo © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Mister X ridden by Inessa Merkulova. File photo © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 4, 2016–All five Russian equestrian athletes–including two dressage riders–have been cleared by the International Olympic Committee to compete at the Games in Rio de Janeiro opening this week, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) reported Thursday.

The IOC action came after a detailed submission by the FEI, including confirmation that all five had no previous anti-doping rule violations.

Inessa Merkulova with Mister X, ranked No. 7 in the world, and Marina Aframeeva and Vosk, 41st in the world, are the two Russian dressage combinations.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos said: “This has been a very difficult time for our Russian athletes, who all have clean anti-doping records under both human and equine testing regimes, so we are very happy to have confirmation today from the IOC that all five are now declared eligible to compete.

“Our sport is not implicated in the (independent) McLaren Report, we also have confirmation from the IOC that there have been no equestrian positives in the re-testing of athletes from Beijing 2008 and London 2012, and WADA has no cases against Russian athletes in equestrian sport, but obviously we still had to go through the process as outlined by the IOC Executive Board last month.

“All five riders have been tested and we did individual analysis of their anti-doping history, which we submitted to the IOC. That documentation has undergone a detailed assessment by the CAS expert and the full process has now been signed off by the Review Panel set up by the IOC specifically to deal with the issue of Russian athlete eligibility.

“The good news has come just in time as the Eventing starts tomorrow (Friday) morning with the first horse inspection at 8.30!”

Dressage starts next week.