IPC suspends Russia ahead of Rio Paralympics

Image: Rio 2016 LOGOC

Russia has been banned by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) meaning that Russian athletes will not be able to compete in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. The ban comes officially due to Russia’s ‘inability to fulfil its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code’ according to an IPC statement.

The IPC examined all the evidence from the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) and additional sources and Russia’s defence presented in person and through written documents. But that Russian defence was nowhere near strong enough as the IPC Governing Board unanimously agreed to suspend Russia’s Paralympic Committee.

After the McLaren report implicated 35 Para Sport athletes from Russia in Russia’s doping scandal, the IPC opened the proceedings. In the end it was determined that Russia had not complied with WADA and IPC regulations, and the IPC governing board determined that banning the Russian National Paralympic Committee (NPC) was the only way to ensure the Rio Paralympics would remain a fair competition.

Being suspended by the IPC means that Russia loses all rights attached to that membership, part of which includes competing in Paralympic events. It also means that the Russian NPC is not able to speak or vote at any IPC meetings, except to defend their case. Russia will now have 21 days to appeal their suspension.

“Ultimately, as the global governing body for the Paralympic Movement, it is our responsibility to ensure fair competition, so that athletes can have confidence that they are competing on a level playing field.” Said IPC president Sir Philip Craven, in a statement, “This is vital to the integrity and credibility of Paralympic sport, and in order to achieve this it is fundamental that each member abides by the rules.

“With the full facts to hand, we were deeply saddened to find that the State-sponsored doping programme that exists within Russian sport regrettably extends to Russian Para sport as well.” Continues Craven, “tragically this situation is not about athletes cheating a system, but about a State-run system that is cheating the athletes. The doping culture that is polluting Russian sport stems from the Russian government and has now been uncovered in not one, but two independent reports commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Craven was condemning of the Russian authorities throughout the statement, most notably when he said, “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.”

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