Olympics: NZ rowing crew replace banned Russians for Rio

New Zealand Rowing Men's Quadruple Sculls, (L-R) Nathan Flannery, Jade Uru, George Bridgewater and John Storey. Photo / Brett Phibbs.
New Zealand Rowing Men's Quadruple Sculls, (L-R) Nathan Flannery, Jade Uru, George Bridgewater and John Storey. Photo / Brett Phibbs.

The New Zealand men's rowing quad is going to the Rio Olympics.

The Russian crew, which won the last chance regatta in Lucerne, has had a member test positive for a banned substance and been disqualified from the Games.

World Rowing has decided the New Zealand scullers, who finished third at that regatta and missed the Games by 0.86s, will take their place.

The crew of Jade Uru, George Bridgewater, Nathan Flannery and John Storey were recently called back to Lake Karapiro to resume training.

On May 17, Russian stroke Sergej Fedorovtsev provided a urine sample at an out-of-competition test conducted by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency. Remarkably, given RADA's circumstances of late, it tested positive for the prohibited substance Trimetazidine on June 16. The B sample tested positive on June 30.

Rowing New Zealand chief executive Simon Peterson said the crews who had missed Olympic selection had remained prepared for any eventuality.

"We have appreciated the emotional ups and downs as the athletes first missed qualification only to be asked to remain in competition mode," Peterson said.

"We are hugely disappointed that our athletes found themselves competing against cheats however very pleased that today they have achieved their goal of winning a spot at the Olympic Games in Rio."

The crew had been continuing to train, along with the men's four and women's quad, as Rowing New Zealand had not ruled out the possibility of a positive drug test affecting results from the May regatta and the subsequent reallocation of quota spots.

The crew will remain training in New Zealand until July 24 when they will depart to join their other team mates in Rio de Janeiro ahead of day one of rowing competition at the Olympic Games on August 6.

New Zealand will now have 11 of a possible 14 rowing crews competing in Rio.

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