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Russian cyclists and wrestlers latest to be cleared for Rio 2016

Tour de France stage winner Ilnur Zakarin will miss Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

Three cyclists have been axed from Russia’s team for Rio 2016 following previous doping offences and a further three riders could miss the Olympics after being implicated in Richard McLaren’s report into state-sponsored doping.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) have announced, however, that 11 cyclists have been cleared to compete at Rio 2016.

United World Wrestling (UWW), meanwhile, have ruled out one Russian competitor.

Governing bodies for badminton and table tennis have ruled that all Russians entered are eligible to compete.

Cycling’s governing body claimed they sought information from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) immediately after the publication of the McLaren report and were informed that three riders named in the Russian team for the Olympic Games were potentially implicated.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board ruled on Sunday (July 24) that anyone named in the McLaren Report would not be able to participate at Rio 2016.

The report, released on July 18, uncovered the presence of a state-sponsored doping scheme at several major events in more than 30 sports which involved “disappearing positive methodology”, where positive samples were switched for clean ones.

“The UCI, through the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), is in the process of identifying relevant rider samples and is in close dialogue with WADA to move forward with these cases immediately,” the UCI said in a statement.

“It has also passed the names of these three athletes to the IOC in the context of its Executive Board decision.

“In addition, the CADF has carried out a careful assessment on the other 11 riders named by the ROC (Russian Olympic Committee) to participate in Rio 2016 cycling events.

“After thorough analysis of the testing history of these riders and considering the scrutiny currently being applied to all of them, the UCI and CADF believe that this is sufficient for these athletes to meet the relevant requirement of the decision of the IOC Executive Board.”

Olga Zabelinskaya was removed from the Russian team having previously served a ban ©Getty ImagesOlga Zabelinskaya was removed from the Russian team having previously served a ban ©Getty Images

Three cyclists have been removed from the Russian team having served doping bans.

They are expected to be Olga Zabelinskaya, Ilnur Zakarin and Sergei Shilov.

The IOC ruled after the McLaren Report than any Russian who had been sanctioned before could not compete – even if they had served their penalty.

Zabelinskaya was due to be the sole female rider for road events at Rio 2016 but accepted an 18-month suspension earlier this year.

It followed her failed test for the banned weight loss stimulant octopamine in March 2014, with the period of ineligibility expiring in September 2015.

Zakarin, winner of a stage of the Tour de France earlier this month, previously served a two-year doping ban between 2009 and 2011 after testing positive for the anabolic steroid methandienone.

Shilov was due to be a member of Russia’s men’s team pursuit team at Rio 2016 but was handed a two-year ban back in 2009 after testing positive for the banned stimulant carphedon.

The UCI revealed their examination of the eligibility of the team had not considered tests conducted by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).

The world governing body stressed they requested the CADF intensify testing of Russian cyclists following the publication of the Independent Commission Report in November 2015.

They will now continue the heightened level of testing.

UWW, meanwhile, have confirmed that only under 57 kilogram freestyle competitor Viktor Lebedev has been declared ineligible to compete at the Games.

The two-time world champion, winner of a gold medal at last year’s European Games in Baku, had previously tested positive at the 2006 Junior World Championships.

He received a two-year suspension following a positive test for boldenone, an anabolic steroid.

Belarus have been awarded the berth in the discipline, having had the next best wrestler at the 2015 World Championships where Lebedev qualified.

European Games champion Viktor Lebedev is the only Russian wrestler to be ruled out of Rio 2016 ©Getty ImagesEuropean Games champion Viktor Lebedev is the only Russian wrestler to be ruled out of Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

UWW have cleared the remaining 16 Russian wrestlers to compete at the Olympics, but their Special Commission recommended that the IOC tests the entire Russian team in Rio before the start of the wrestling competition at Rio 2016.

The Commission also reviewed 28 wrestlers mentioned in the McLaren report – none of which qualified for the Olympics – concluding that 17 of the cases had already been managed and a decision reached.

They found that 16 of 28 held a UWW international licence, while seven cases concerned Pankration athletes, a non-Olympic folk style of wrestling.

Three cases were deemed suspicious and UWW have promised a full investigation will now be conducted.

Russia’s three strong table tennis team have all received the green light to compete at the Olympics today, with the International Table Tennis Federation deeming them eligible after meeting the IOC’s criteria.

Polina Mikhailova and Maria Dolgikh will both play in the women’s singles event and Alexander Shibaev will compete in the men’s singles.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) have also cleared all four Russian players.

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