'The Olympics is the holy grail for us' - Kiwi rowers leaving nothing to chance ahead of possible Russian drugs ban

Three Kiwi rowing crews were training hard today as they waited on a possible call-up to the Rio Olympic Games.

Rowing New Zealand says the chance of a late Olympic call up is slim but they couldn't ignore the growing evidence. Source: 1 NEWS

ONE News revealed yesterday that sporting organisations were told by their international governing bodies to put athletes on standby because widespread and systematic doping throughout Russian sport is set to be revealed that would rule all of their athletes out of the upcoming Olympics.

If that occurs it will free up space for athletes around the globe including New Zealand sportsmen and women who may have missed out on Olympic qualification.

That includes the three Kiwi crews who narrowly missed qualification at the first time of trying.

They were out training this morning on Lake Karapiro, eager to make the most of a possible second chance at going to the Olympics.

"The Olympics is the holy grail for us. At this moment it's worth the risk of an extra three or four weeks training for that reward at the end," said New Zealand rower George Bridgewater, a bronze medal winner in Beijing. 

The men's and women's quad and men's four are the crews in contention.

"Two of the three crews that qualified one spot off the Olympics have got Russian crews ahead of them and given the talk around the Russian federation and all the increase in the anti-doping measures for all countries, we thought it was prudent to make the decision we've made," said Drug Free Sport NZ spokesman Graeme Steel.

In the next two weeks the World Anti-Doping Agency's inquiry into the Russian doping scandal will be released.