The Russian National Paralympic Committee (RPC) has responded fiercely to their ban from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. On Monday, the president of the Russian NPC, Vladimir Lukin was angry as he addressed a press conference after Sunday’s decision from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
Lukin says that “The overwhelming majority of sports people who were prevented from taking part in the Games were absolutely clean sports people.” He continues “I believe none of the national Paralympic committees were more rigorous and attentive in implementing the anti-doping program than the RPC. We are ready to prove that with evidence.”
That the RPC claims to have evidence is boggling, since Russia sent a delegation to meet with the IPC and present their case ahead of any possible suspension. So claims by Lukin that evidence is available suggests that either Lukin is lying, as he would have already presented the evidence, or that Lukin held back evidence in order for the RPC to receive a suspension which could then be used as a political tool in Russia. Either way would suggest that the RPC is badly failing its athletes, which is actually the reason for the ban from the IPC, with the doping scandal just being a symptom of that failing.
By far Lukin’s most inflammatory statements came when he suggested not allowing Russian Athletes to compete would be “a flagrant violation of human rights”. This was in relation to due process, as Lukin said clean athletes should be allowed to prove they are clean and compete, essentially what happened at the Olympic Games.
Russia will now have until the 28th of August to file the appeal, which will be heard and finalized before the start of the Rio Paralympic Games. Lukin hinted further legal action should the decision not go Russia’s way, citing politics as the reason for the ban.
Russia has found an ally in World Archery, which released a statement in response to the ban. “World Archery is disappointed that the IPC did not clarify which were the three summer Paralympic sports (which is incorrect, there were five summer sports) that were implicated in the McLaren Report, as it puts the image of World Archery and other summer sports into question. World Archery received written confirmation from the IPC on 26 July that no archery athletes were implicated in the McLaren Report, making the blanket ban excluding of clean athletes, inappropriate and unfair.”
That will no doubt be used as ammunition by Russia when they go through their appeal which they are currently working on. Once the appeal goes through the IPC will announce a decision before the Rio Paralympic Games.