The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on Sunday announced a ban of all Russian athletes from competing at the 2016 Paralymic games in Rio next month due to the country’s widespread doping culture.
The IPC’s decision comes on the heels of the publication of the McLaren report last month which implicated the country’s para-athletes in the doping scandal.
“In my view and in the view of every member of the IPC Governing Board, the McLaren report marked one of the darkest days in the history of all sport. It was a body blow for everyone who is committed to clean, fair and honest competition. It questioned the integrity and credibility of sport as we all know it and has left me and many others deeply saddened,” said Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee.
I believe the Russian government has catastrophically failed its para-athletes. ...Their thirst for glory at all costs has severely damaged the integrity and image of all sports
“Following further investigations since the report’s publication, the IPC now has evidence that the same abhorrent practises also took place during the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games,” Craven added.
He explained that the decision to ban Russia was taken unanimously by the IPC’s governing board on Friday.
“It is strongly of the view that the Russian Paralympic Committee is currently unable to ensure compliance with and the enforcement of the IPC’s anti-doping code and the world anti-doping code within its own national jurisdiction. Therefore it cannot fulfil its fundamental obligations as an IPC member and as a result the IPC Governing Board has resolved to suspend the Russian Paralympic Comittee with immediate effect,” he said.
The IPC president said the Russian Paralympians were part of a “broken, corrupted and entirely compromised” system adding that everything they have uncovered so far “goes against the very spirit of sport and everything the Paralympic movement stands for. This is why we feel that we had no option but to take this action”.
He blamed the Russian government’s thirst for glory for the predicament the para-athletes find themselves in now. The Russian government he said “has catastrophically failed its para-athletes”.
“Their (government’s) ‘medals over morals’ mentality disgusts me. The complete corruption of the anti-doping system (in Russia) 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.
Their thirst for glory at all costs has severely damaged the integrity and image of all sports and has certainly resulted in a devastating outcome for the Russian Paralympic Committee and para-athletes”
Russia has meanwhile said it would appeal the IPC’s ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
About a third of Russia’s athletes expected to participate in the ongoing Olympics have been banned due to the same doping scandal. The over two hundred Russian athletes currently in competition had to be cleared by their respective sporting federations to enable them compete.
Whereas the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided against a blanket ban of Russian athletes, the IPC has gone ahead to issue the blanket ban for the Paralympic games which run from September 7 to 18 in Rio de Janeiro.