Russia’s Inessa Merkulova and Marina Aframeeva Cleared to Compete at Rio

Inessa Merkulova and Mister X
Inessa Merkulova and Mister X

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – August 5, 2016 – The IOC confirmed Thursday that all five Russian equestrian athletes have been cleared to compete at the Olympic Games in Rio. The news comes following a detailed submission by the FEI, including confirmation that all five had no previous anti-doping rule violations.

The five Russian equestrian athletes that are now cleared to compete in Rio include two dressage athletes: Inessa Merkulova on Mister X and Marina Aframeeva on Vosk. Eventers Aleksandr Markov on Kurfurstin, Andrey Mitin on Gurza, and Evgeniya Ovchinnikova on Orion have also been cleared.

Following a meeting on July 24, the IOC Executive Board (EB) declared that Russian athletes would only be accepted as eligible for the Rio 2016 Games if they met a set of stringent criteria, including individual analysis of each athlete’s individual anti-doping record. The IOC EB also ruled that any Russian athlete that had ever been sanctioned for doping, even if they had served the sanction, would not be eligible to compete in Rio.

“This has been a very difficult time for our Russian athletes, who all have clean anti-doping records under both human and equine testing regimes, so we are very happy to have confirmation today from the IOC that all five are now declared eligible to compete,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “Our sport is not implicated in the McLaren Report. We also have confirmation from the IOC that there have been no equestrian positives in the re-testing of athletes from Beijing 2008 and London 2012, and WADA has no cases against Russian athletes in equestrian sport, but obviously we still had to go through the process as outlined by the IOC Executive Board last month.

He added, “All five riders have been tested and we did individual analysis of their anti-doping history, which we submitted to the IOC. That documentation has undergone a detailed assessment by the CAS expert and the full process has now been signed off by the Review Panel set up by the IOC specifically to deal with the issue of Russian athlete eligibility.”

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