Belarus female rowing team cleared for Rio, men banned

Легендарная вяслярка Кацярына Карстэн зможа выступіць на Алімпіядзе

The National Olympic Committee on July 18 hosted a press conference focusing on the decision by the International Rowing Federation to ban the Belarus men's team from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Initially, it sounded like the one-year ban applied to the whole team but the National Olympic Committee clarified that it affected only the Belarus men's rowing team.

It means that Belarus' legendary rower Katsiaryna Karsten will be able to take part in the Olympics. She is 40 years old and she won the first ever Olympic gold for an independent Belarus back in 1996.

All other female rowers are clear to go, too.

The National Olympic Committe of Belarus has categorically disagreed with the disquaification of the men's rowing team.  

“Without proof or solid facts, the members of the International Rowing Federation's executive committee, have nevertheless taken an unprecedented decision to deprive the Belarusian athletes - the world rowing leaders - of their right to compete for the medals of the major sporting event over the past four years," says the statement.

News about the one-year disqualification of Belarus rowing team broke in the evening of July 16. The scandal unfolded out of the situation in April 2016 during preparations in France when the local police searched the training camp of Belarusians. Media leaks suggested that 16 tablets of mildronate were found on the Belarus team's coach. Belarusian sport officials insist mildronate was prescribed to the coach herself.

The International Rowing Federation says some additional evidence was revealed promting sich a tough action against the Belarusian male rowers.

Легендарная вяслярка Кацярына Карстэн зможа выступіць на Алімпіядзе