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NZ quad Rio-bound after failed drug test

NZN 30/06/2016

The New Zealand men's quad sculls are heading to the Rio Olympics after a member of a Russian crew failed a drug test.

Rowing NZ and the NZ Olympic Committee were notified by international rowing's governing body that both samples from Sergej Fedorovtsev had tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine.

The Russian crew he was part of won the final qualifying regatta in May, but the New Zealand crew of John Storey, George Bridgewater, Nathan Flannery and Jade Uru will now take their place at Rio.

The Kiwis had finished third at the regatta in Lucerne, one place outside the top-two finish needed to got to the Games.

Rowing NZ chief executive Simon Peterson says the late inclusion is just reward for the hard-working crew.

"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," he said.

Peterson said the crew had continued training as Rowing NZ hadn't ruled out the possibility of a positive drug test affecting results from the qualification regatta.

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

NZOC chief executive Kereyn Smith congratulated FISA (world rowing's governing body) for taking steps to remove drug cheats.

FISA said trimetazidine was found in a urine sample given by Fedorovtsev in an out-of-competition test on May 17 - a week before the regatta.

It disqualified the results of the 36-year-old, who won gold in the quadruple sculls at the 2004 Olympics, from the date of the positive test.

The quad crew will remain training in New Zealand until late this month when they leave to join their teammates in Rio ahead of the Olympic rowing regatta which begins on August 6.

New Zealand will now take an unprecedented 36-strong squad comprising 11 crews to the Olympics.

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