28 July 2016
Louis Petrin writes from Australia:
The 2016 Olympics in Rio has been racked with problems.
Following a damning report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the IOC passed the buck to individual sports federations to decide whether to allow Russian rowers to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Two days ago, 19 Russian rowers were banned from competing at next month’s Olympics, along with three rowers on Monday, making a total of 22 Russian rowers and two coxswains banned from participating. This means that four Russian boats: men’s lightweight four; men’s eight; women’s eight; and women’s lightweight double sculls are ruled out of Rio and their places re-allocated to the following nations:
LW2x to the Italian Rowing Federation
LM4- to the Hellenic Rowing Federation of Greece
M8+ to the Italian Rowing Federation
W8+ to the Australian Rowing Federation
International rowing’s governing body, FISA, has announced that only six Russian rowers: one lightweight and five open weight men will be permitted to compete at the Rio Olympics. This leaves the Russians with only one boat option, a men’s coxless four. Should Russia decide not to enter the four, their place will be offered to New Zealand.
Following the Australian women’s eight’s failure to qualify for the Games at the regatta in Lucerne in May, they had reassembled in Melbourne to maintain fitness in the hope of a favourable decision, and will now focus on getting ready for Rio, where the team arrives on 5 August before their first heat on 8 August.
With the women’s eight now going to Rio, it means that for the first time Australia will be sending more women (50.6%) than men to a Summer Olympic Games!