(ATR) No Russian athletes will take part in the Rio Paralympics after the Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed Russia’s appeal against its suspension by the IPC.
The International Paralympic Committee suspended Russia on Aug. 7 after overwhelming evidence showed a "broken system", in violation of WADA’s code and its own anti-doping regulations. Referencing the McLaren report which exposed a state-sponsored doping regime, IPC president Phil Craven said at the time: "The anti-doping system in Russia is broken, corrupted, and entirely compromised."
The Russian Paralympic Committee(RPC) challenged the ban in an appeal to the CAS on Aug. 15.
After a hearing in Rio on Tuesday, a CAS panel found that the decision to ban Russia was made "in accordance with the IPC rules and was proportionate in the circumstances".
"The panel also noted that the RPC did not file any evidence contradicting the facts on which the IPC decision was based," a CAS statement said.
Reacting to the CAS ruling, Craven said: "Today’s decision underlines our strong belief that doping has absolutely no place in Paralympic sport, and further improves our ability to ensure fair competition and a level playing field for all Para athletes around the world.
"Although we are pleased with the decision, it is not a day for celebration and we have enormous sympathy for the Russian athletes who will now miss out on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games."
He added: "It is a sad day for the Paralympic Movement, but we hope also a new beginning. We hope this decision acts as a catalyst for change in Russia and we can welcome the Russian Paralympic Committee back as a member safe in the knowledge that it is fulfilling its obligations to ensure fair competition for all."
Craven had backed the IOC’s decision in July not to impose a blanket ban on Russia from the Olympics. The international federations were instructed to decide on the eligibility of athletes in accordance with a set of criteria set out by the IOC. But he railed against Russia's doping culture at a press conference in Rio two days into the Olympics.
The IPC president today restated why, unlike the IOC, the organization he leads had taken such a strong stance against Russia.
"As an autonomous organisation with a different governance structure to the IOC, the IPC’s decision was based on the fact that there is one sole IPC member in Russia responsible for both winter and summer Para sport," he said, adding that the Russian Paralympic Committee was not fulfilling its obligations with anti-doping codes.
"Beyond Rio 2016, we will work with the World Anti-Doping Agency to establish the criteria the Russian Paralympic Committee needs to meet in order to fulfil all its membership obligations and have its suspension lifted," he added.
The IPC chief also pledged to continue working closely with the its anti-doping committee and WADA on the measures to be taken to address the athletes implicated in the McLaren report.
With Russia’s ban from next month’s Paralympic Games now confirmed, the IPC will work with the international federations to redistribute the 267 slots that had been secured by the country’s athletes.
Reported by Mark Bisson
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