Russian athletes banned from Rio Paralympics Games

Athetes participates in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Russia was banned from the games in Rio next month. Photo by Marcus Hartmann/International Paralympic Committee

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 7 (UPI) — All Russian athletes have been banned from the Paralympics over doping concerns, the president of the International Paralympics Committee Sir Philip Craven announced Sunday.

The ban is a result of the findings in a World Anti-Doping Agency report by Professor Richard McLaren into state-sponsored doping.

The International Olympic Committee this month declared that 271 Russian athletes would be eligible to compete in Rio, despite WADA recommending a total ban. IOC considered Russia’s athletes on a case-by-case basis, which resulted in banning 111 athletes.

The Russian Paralympic Committee “has shown it is unable to comply with our doping code within its jurisdiction. It can’t fulfill its fundamental obligations as an IPC member,” Craven said. “This decision has placed a huge burden upon all our shoulders, but it’s a decision we’ve had to take in the best interests of the Paralympic Movement.”

He added, “we were deeply saddened to find that the state-sponsored doping program that exists within Russian sport regrettably extends to Russian Para sport as well.

“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.”

The Russian Paralympic Committee has 21 days until Aug. 28 to appeal the decision.

The Paralympics, which involves athletes with a range of physical disabilities, are scheduled to take place after the Olympics in Rio from Sept. 7-18.

The McLaren Report identified 35 samples related to Paralympic sports where samples disappeared from the Mascow lab.

On Saturday, the investigation team provided the IPC with an additional 10 samples, relating to nine athletes, which were part of the “disappearing positive” methodology.

After finishing eighth in 2008, Russia finished second overall with 36 gold medals.

Although not directly referred to in the McLaren Report, the IPC said sample swapping that operated during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games was also taking place during the the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Russia won 80 out of 216 available medals at Sochi, including 30 out of 72 golds.


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