Abuja – Russia has again been banned because of state-sponsored sports doping programme, and will not compete at the Paralympic Winter Games scheduled for South Korea’s Pyeongchang in 2018.
The Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) announced on Monday that the latest punishment had just been handed out to it by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Russia is already suspended from next month’s Rio Paralympics.
“The decision taken by the IPC, upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding Russian Paralympians being excluded from the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, has also been extended to include the Winter Games in 2018 in Pyeongchang,”
the RPC said on its website.
NAN recalls also that the Lausanne-based CAS, sport’s highest tribunal, had last week rejected an RPC appeal against the Rio ban.
The decision to exclude Russia’s team means at least 260 competitors from the country are now set to miss the Sept. 7 to Sept. 18 Paralympics.
Russia has appealed against the CAS ruling to the Swiss Federal Court and a result was expected later on Monday or on Tuesday.
The Federal Court can only overturn the CAS decision on the basis of a procedural mistake and not on the merits of the case.
NAN recalls that the IPC went further than the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which stopped short of a blanket ban on Russia at this month’s Rio Olympics.
The IOC had left the decision instead in the hands of international sports federations.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin had called the Paralympic ban cynical and immoral but also said Moscow acknowledged mistakes it had made in tackling sports doping.
The country’s track and field team was also excluded from the Olympics due to the sports doping programme.
Putin said the decision to bar Russian athletes, including those who had not tested positive for any banned substances, was a vivid manifestation “of how the humanistic foundations of sport and Olympism are shamelessly flouted by politics’’.
“The decision to disqualify our Paralympic team is outside the law, outside morality and outside humanity,” he added.
“It is simply cynical to vent one’s anger on those for whom sport has become the meaning of their life … I even feel pity for those taking such decisions because they must well understand that it is so demeaning for them.’’
The whole dispute centres on a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report which found out that the Russian government and the FSB security service had, over years, covered up doping.
It had said these were hundreds of doping cases across the majority of Olympic sports and Paralympic events.
Although not widely followed or celebrated in Russia, the country’s para-athletes are some of the best in the world.
Though, in Russia, rights campaigners say many disabled people are marginalised by regressive social attitudes and inadequate state support,
Their team topped the medals table at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in the Russian city of Sochi after taking second place behind China at London 2012.(Reuters/NAN)