Moscow: Sixteen of 17 Russian wrestlers were cleared to compete in the Rio Olympics on Thursday by international governing body United World Wrestling (UWW).
Freestyle wrestler Viktor Lebedev, a former two-time world champion in the 55kg class, was the only athlete excluded following a positive doping test a decade ago. Lebedev, 28, won gold in the 2015 European Games in the 57kg class, and had been due to compete in that event in Rio.
“All Russian wrestlers currently qualified for Rio 2016 have all been tested in 2016 by WADA-accredited laboratories outside of Moscow,” UWW said in a statement.
“None of the wrestlers entered in the Olympic Games — or who qualified a place for their NOC — was included in the McLaren report.
“Per regulations set by the IOC, Viktor Lebedev was not cleared for consideration due to a positive doping test at the 2006 Junior World Championships.
“Mr. Lebedev’s qualification spot has been replaced by the nation of the next best-ranked wrestler from his qualification tournament (2015 World Championships). That nation is Belarus.”
UWW’s Special Commission also recommended that the IOC tests the entire Russian wrestling team in Rio before the start of the competition. The latest doping scandal to rock Olympic and Russian sport was triggered this month by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren whose report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) detailed an elaborate doping system directed by the Moscow sports ministry and used in more than 30 sports over four years.
The IOC sparked fierce criticism on Sunday when it resisted a blanket ban on the country in favour of allowing individual sports federations to make the call on which Russians can go to Rio. The wrestling decision takes the number of Russian athletes suspended from Rio to 112 of the 387 initially announced by the ROC.