PtG Article 08.08.2016

Russia banned from the Paralympics

Russia will not be allowed to send athletes to the Paralympic Games after the International Paralympic Committee suspended Russia on Sunday in response to the country's state-sponsored doping program.

Unlike the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) chose to hit hard when, on Sunday, the IPC suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee and also excluded all Russian athletes from the Paralympic Games in Rio, which will take place next month.

At a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Philip Craven, IPC president, referred to the widespread state-sponsored doping program in Russia, which, according to WADA's independent report on state-sponsored doping in Russia from 18 July, also included a large number of disabled athletes.

"The facts really do hurt; they are an unprecedented attack on every clean athlete who competes in sport. The anti-doping system in Russia is broken, corrupted and entirely compromised," Craven said.

Prior to reaching the decision, the IPC had been meeting with both the author of the report, Richard H. McLaren, and the Russian Paralympic Committee to get further information. The conclusion was that the state-sponsored, systematic doping scam, which also took place during the 2014 Sochi Games, was so systemic and extensive that it justifies a total ban on the Russian paralympic committee even though this also means excluding possibly clean ahletes from the paralymics.

"Everything we have observed goes against the very spirit of sport and everything the Paralympic Movement stands for. This is why we feel that we had no option but to take this action. Tragically, this situation is not about athletes cheating a system, but about a State run system that is cheating the athletes," Craven further stated.

"I believe the Russian government has catastrophically failed its Para athletes. Their medals over morals mentality disgusts me. The complete corruption of the anti-doping system is contrary to the rules and strikes at the very heart of the spirit of Paralympic sport. It shows a blatant disregard for the health and well-being of athletes and, quite simply, has no place in Paralympic sport."

Russia plans to appeal ban

According to the Russian news agency Tass, the Russian Paralympic Committee intends to appeal the IPC decision to CAS.

President of the Russian Paralympic Committee, Vladimir Lukin, also expressed that he sees the IPC decision as politically motivated.

"If the International Paralympic Committee wants to indulge in that sort of middling political activities, it is free to do that. I cannot prove that this decision was politically motivated but it smells as dirty politics well articulately," said Lukin.

Also World Archery has launched a critique of the IPC decision, which they find to go against the principles of inclusion and fair play.

Meanwhile, WADA, along with a number of national anti-doping agencies and paralympic federations, have welcomes the decision. Shortly after the IPC news conference, WADA issued a statement supporting the IPC ban.

The exclusion of Russia from the Paraympics shows that there is no clear consensus on how to react to the McLaren report after the IOC decided to leave it up to the individual federations to assess whether Russian athletes could participate at the games in Rio.

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