Equestrian: Russian riders cleared for Rio - Metro US

Equestrian: Russian riders cleared for Rio

Inessa Merkulova of Russia rides her horse Mister X during the Reem Acra FEI World Cup dressage Grand Prix event during the Gothenburg Horse Show at Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg, Sweden March 25, 2016. REUTERS/Bjorn Larsson Rosvall/TT News Agency

(Reuters) – Five Russian riders have been cleared to compete at the Rio Olympics, the governing body for equestrian sports (FEI) said on Wednesday.

FEI president Ingmar De Vos said dressage riders Inessa Merkulova and Marina Aframeeva along with eventing competitors Aleksandr Markov, Andrey Mitin and Evgeniya Ovchinnikova were confirmed.

None of the five have ever failed a dope test, internationally or nationally, and the FEI said it had submitted the list and related documentation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The IOC decided on Sunday not to issue a blanket ban on Russian athletes despite the independent McLaren report finding evidence of state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

It left the decision on which Russians can compete at next month’s Rio Games to global federations, but stipulated that any Russian athletes with a previous doping suspension will be ineligible.

“Equestrian is not implicated in the McLaren Report and we also have confirmation from the IOC that there have been no equestrian positives in the re-testing of athletes from Beijing 2008 and London2012,” said De Vos in a statement.

“WADAhas no cases against Russian athletes in equestrian sport so we have no objective reason at all to prevent Russian equestrian athletes going to the Games.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis)

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