Russia Paralympic Ban: IPC Procedure and What Next

After announcing Russia’s suspension from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) the IPC outlined how that decision was reached. The IPC has also outlined how things will proceed from here, as leaving the door open for a clean Russian National Paralympic Committee (NPC) to return to the fold is important.

The first step in the suspension process was to examine the so called ‘disappearing’ positive samples. The McLaren Report identified 35 athletes whose samples were positives and the IPC got the names of those athletes and then also 10 more which the investigation team identified.

From the 45 samples, 27 of those relate to sports which fall under the organization of the IPC and form part of the Paralympic Games. Of those, five sports are in the Summer Paralympics and three are in the Winter Paralympics.

At least 11 of those samples were marked as ‘SAVE’ by the laboratory in Moscow, meaning they were reported as negative despite being a positive test. This means that those athletes received no punishment for their offenses, but the report suggests these 11 are merely part of the whole.

Following identifying the athletes involved the IPC looked into the Sochi Paralympics and discovered that the same smuggling procedure from the Olympics was in place. This lead the IPC to test 21 samples from Sochi selected by the investigation team based on intelligence gathering.

In just looking at the caps the investigators at the independent laboratory could tell that these had been tampered with, the same as the Olympic samples. Two were completely unusable due to sediment and the rest had scratches and marks on the caps.

The IPC performed DNA tests which confirmed that the clean urine which was swapped in came from the same athlete.  On top of that given these results have verified that Russia’s state sponsored doping involves Paralympic athletes, the IPC will now retest every single sample from the 2014 Paralympic Games.

On the 29th of July the Russian NPC submitted written evidence to the IPC Governing Board to consider in their appeal. The following Wednesday a delegation from the Russian NPC met with the governor’s board in a three hour meeting. Any questions that Russia did not have a response to were responded in writing within 24 hours. Following that response the IPC Governing Board spent two hours discussing amongst themselves the decision before a unanimous vote.

From here, the first thing is Russia’s presumed appeal, which they have 21 days to submit to be heard. The other concern is what to do with Russia’s 267 slots in the Paralympic Game, and the IPC is working with the relevant sports federations on how this redistribution will happen but no decisions will be announced until after the Russian appeal. Once Russia prove their ability to meet their obligations they will be instantly reinstated.

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