Olympics: 22 of 28 Russian rowers banned from Rio Games

The Russian flag (left) and the Olympic flag during the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi winter Olympic games in 2014.
The Russian flag (left) and the Olympic flag during the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi winter Olympic games in 2014.PHOTO: EPA

LAUSANNE (AFP) - Rowing's international governing body FISA announced on Tuesday (July 26) that 22 of 28 Russian rowers have been banned from competing in the Rio Games, based on criteria fixed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over state-sponsored doping in Russia.

With just six rowers still eligible, Russia can only compete with one boat in Brazil, a men's coxless four, FISA said, after the country had originally qualified five boats.

This follows FISA's announcement on Monday that three Russian rowers - Ivan Balandin, Anastasia Karabelshchikova and Ivan Podshivalov - would be barred from competing in Rio.

Podshivalov and Karabelshchikova are not eligible because of past doping offences for which they served suspensions in 2007 and 2008, FISA said.

FISA said that Balandin was among the 11 rowers whose doping tests were manipulated by the Moscow anti-doping laboratory and the Russian deputy minister of sport, as had been outlined in a damning report by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren published last week.

The 19 rowers declared ineligible on Tuesday were because of non credible doping controls carried out in Moscow between 2012 and 2016.

Russia's rowing federation said earlier Tuesday it would be appealing those three cases to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

And Russian rowing federation president Veniamin But slammed the decision to allow just six rowers to compete as a "humiliation".

"This is a humiliation. I was in contact with the president of the International Federation and I am in shock, but we won't stop the battle," But told the R-Sport agency.

"Our Olympic Committee is holding discussions with the IOC on our behalf.

"I'm waiting for the outcome of talks between the ROC (Russian Olympic Committee) and the IOC, we continue the battle. I think the final decision will be set out tomorrow."

On Sunday the IOC ruled against a blanket ban on all Russian competitors in Rio, instead leaving it up to individual sports federations to decide on Russian athletes' eligibility.