Olympics-Rowing-Russia withdraws quadruple sculls team, Lithuania to get spot

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(Reuters) -The Russian Rowing Federation (RRF) withdrew its men's quadruple sculls team from the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, saying the level of skills of two potential substitutes in the crew did not meet Games standards.

The sport's global governing body World Rowing said in a statement https://worldrowing.com/2021/07/18/withdrawal-of-russian-mens-quadruple-sculls-from-tokyo-olympic-games it had contacted the Lithuanian Rowing Federation to offer the available slot to its crew, as they were the next placing team in the final Olympic qualification regatta.

It added the International Olympic Committee had approved the late replacement "on an exceptional basis."

"The RRF coaching council deeply analysed training results of two potential substitutes in the M4x crew and has concluded their level of skills does not meet Olympic standards," the RRF said in a statement released by World Rowing.

"Considering these and other important factors, as inability to properly conduct the final stage of preparation by athletes of this crew for the Games, high psycho-emotional tension and pressure and, as a result, the inability to show a decent result at the upcoming... regatta, the federation's leadership decided with a heavy heart to withdraw the crew from the competition."

Two Russian rowers from the quadruple sculls team had tested positive https://worldrowing.com/2021/07/08/two-anti-doping-positives-from-russian-mens-quadruple-sculls for the banned substance meldonium, following out-of-competition dope testing in June after the final Olympic qualification regatta.

The duo were provisionally suspended, ruling them out of the Games. However, their boat remained qualified for Tokyo and the Russian team was allowed to bring in substitutes in line with the Olympic qualification system.

World Rowing said that it is now awaiting Lithuania's decision after Russia's pullout.

The Games will begin on July 23.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)