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Five Russian Canoeists, Including Olympic Champion, Barred From Rio Games

The sport of canoeing's world governing body has banned five Russians, including an Olympic champion, from competing at the Rio Olympics following an International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision not to impose a complete ban against all Russian athletes over the country’s systemic use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Aleksandr Dyachenko, who won gold in the men's double kayak 200 meters at the 2012 Olympics in London, and Aleksei Korovashkov, an Olympic bronze medalist, are among the banned canoeists.

Yelena Anyushina, Natalia Podolskaya, and Andrei Kraitor have been also banned.

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) said on July 26 that the five were implicated in World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren's report last week, which detailed how Russian state officials allegedly intervened to cover up failed drug tests.

"This is a bitter blow for the Olympic movement and we are saddened that our sport in implicated," ICF General-Secretary Simon Toulson said in a statement.

The ICF said it issued immediate suspensions to the implicated athletes pending further investigation.

The IOC’s July 24 decision leaves the decision about athletes' participation to the international federation of each individual sport.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters