Two pentathletes have been ruled out of Rio following the recent Russian doping scandal.
The McLaren Report, commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), exposed wide-scale state-sponsored doping in Russian Olympic and Paralympic sport.
The equestrian disciplines of eventing, showjumping and dressage were not mentioned in the report, but modern pentathlon was.
As a result, Russia’s modern pentathlon squad member Maksim Kustov and reserve Ilia Frolov will not be allowed to compete at this summer’s Olympics. There are no team medals for modern pentathlon at the Games, so all athletes compete as individuals.
The pair were caught up in “disappearing positive methodology”, whereby positive drug test results were falsely recorded as negative.
According to the report, both athletes tested positive for trenbolone, methenolone and oxandrolone when their samples were analysed in a Moscow laboratory in August 2014, but the findings were not reported as such.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided on Sunday (24 July) against a blanket ban for all Russian athletes, instead allowing individual sporting federations to choose — provided athletes met strict IOC criteria. This includes never having been sanctioned for a positive drug test.
This comes as a blow to Russia as Kustov, the current world number seven, is Russia’s the highest-ranked pentathlete.
The remainder of the Russian modern pentathlon contingent — Aleksandr Lesun, Donata Rimshaite and Gulnaz Gubaydullina — will be allowed to compete.
However, they will not be allowed to substitute another athlete in to fill Kustov’s place.
Instead the executive board of the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) has ruled the spare place be reallocated to the first reserve athlete, Latvia’s Ruslan Nakonechnyi, to take part in the men’s individual competition.
“UIPM is fully committed in the fight against doping and the protection of clean athletes, and will continue following up with WADA,” said a UIPM spokesman.
Will Russia be allowed to compete in the equestrian disciplines?
The FEI has decided that Russian riders will be allowed to compete at the Rio Olympics.
The country has three eventers and two dressage riders — including world number five dressage combination Inessa Merkulova and Mister X — on the final entries list.
None of the riders have been implicated in the findings of the report.
FEI president Ingmar De Vos said yesterday (Monday, 25 July) he could see “absolutely no reason” why the Russian equestrian athletes should not compete in Rio.
See Horse & Hound, out Thursday, 28 July, for more information