Paralympics bans Russian athletes from Rio Games after doping scandal

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has confirmed the ban on all Russian athletes from the games in the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio today.

Paralympic logo

"The Russian Paralympic Committee will not be able to enter athletes into the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games", IPC President Sir Philip Craven told a Rio de Janeiro press conference today. "It is our responsibility to ensure fair competition. That is vital to the integrity and credibility of Paralympic sport. I believe the Russian government has catastrophically failed its athletes. The medals over morals attitude disgusts me." The international committee considered arguments from the Russian committee before confirming the ban.

This comes after the publication of the McLaren report, which described state-sponsored doping in the Russian team. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has also claimed the doping cover-up operation was sponsored by the state, with samples destroyed to eliminate evidence of doping. Drug test laboratory director turned whistleblower Dr Rodchenkov acknowledged the state security forces — in the words of the WADA report — "actively imposed an atmosphere of intimidation on laboratory process and staff". He also claimed he was part of state-organised doping at the Sochi Winter Olympics, destroying urine samples and giving athletes banned drugs.

Russia has denied these allegations, Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko calling WADA's doping report, when it first came out, "unverified sources, on unverified facts". According to Russian news agency Tass, Mutko said Russia would appeal today's IPC ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Russian gold medal winner Yuriy Borzakovskiy expressed scepticism of the allegations, saying "The report itself contains a lot of allegations but not many facts [...] The pressure [to expel Russia from the Olympics] is very much political".