Russia’s suspension by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has been extended to the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) announced on Monday. That announcement from the RPC is perhaps designed to generate outrage in Russia about the suspension, which was always targeted as indefinite.
The suspension by the IPC had no time on it, with the suggestion that the ban was indefinite and would remain in force until the RPC was able to prove that it could meet its commitments as an IPC member. With the RPC failing to prove their capability of meeting the IPC Anti-Doping code, they were suspended until they could prove their ability to do so.
The RPC released a statement on their website on Monday stating that their team was also banned from the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games. This comes after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirmed the IPC suspension was within the rules of the IPC and law.
The IPC responded to a request from Paralympic Sports for a comment saying , “The IPC is currently in the process of developing the steps the Russian Paralympic Committee will need to take to meet its membership obligations. By rule, the Russian Paralympic Committee’s suspension will be lifted immediately following the Governing Board’s determination that the member is once again able to meet its membership obligations in full.” in a statement issued.
Understandably Russia are seeking every angle to get the suspension withdrawn and after failing at the CAS they have gone further. This third appeal has now gone to the Swiss Federal Court, which can only rule against the procedure, not whether the ban is merited.
Politicians in Russia have repeatedly railed against the IPC, and last week Russian President Vladimir Putin weighed in. As has been the trend, the Russian President accused the IPC of acting politically rather than in the interest of the individual athletes (at least one of whom has also received an additional ban due to individual doping).
A ban in the Winter Paralympic Games may be even bigger for Russia, who topped the medal tally in 2014, an event they hosted, although given confirmed doping occurred in that event that result is thrown in to doubt. That said Russia have long been a force in the Summer Paralympic Games as well and their absence will be heavily felt in Rio in September.