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Paralympic Games: Russia loses appeal, down and out

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Russia will not compete at next month's Paralympic Games in Rio after they lost their appeal on Tuesday. The Paralympics will begin on 7 September, 2016

Russia will not compete at next month’s Paralympic Games in Rio after they lost their appeal on Tuesday.

The Paralympics begin on 7 September.

The Court for the Arbitration of Sport [CAS] upheld the decision made by the International Paralympic Committee [IPC].

It added that the Russian Paralympic Committee did not file any evidence contradicting the facts put forward by the IPC.

The IPC made the decision after the McLaren report detailed a Russian state-sponsored doping programme.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev described the decision as “cynical”.

Medvedev said “certain leaders of the Paralympic movement” wanted to “squeeze out strong competitors”.

He went on to call the decision “a blow to all people with disabilities, not just Russians”.

The decision to impose a blanket ban on Russian Paralympians is in contrast to IOC’s [International Olympic Committee] stance.

IOC had asked each individual sporting federation to decide whether athletes could compete.

A three-person IOC panel then had the final say and allowed 271 Russians to take part in Rio with the team winning 56 medals.

The IOC was widely criticised for ignoring the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) recommendation to ban Russia.

In the end, more than 270 Russian athletes were cleared to compete at the Olympics.

Russia finished in fourth place in the medal table.

Russia’s appeal against the blanket ban imposed by Paralympics officials was rejected meaning the country’s Paralympians will compete only on the screen.

CAS, in a statement, said that the IPC “did not violate any procedural rule in dealing with the with the disciplinary process” which led to the suspension of Russia.

It added that the decision to ban Russia, “was made in accordance with the IPC rules and was proportionate in the circumstances.”

Reacting to the ban, Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said the decision was “more political than judicial.”

Russia was banned on August 7 by the IPC before launching an appeal.

Upon announcing the ban earlier this month, committee president Philip Craven laid the blame on the Russian government.

Russia has “catastrophically failed its para athletes. Their medals-over-morals mentality disgusts me,” he said at the time.

The IPC had sought more information from Richard McLaren, who led the independent report for the World Anti-Doping Agency which alleged wide scale doping which had allegedly been covered up by the country’s security services.

Reacting to the verdict Tuesday, Craven said his organization was “greatly encouraged.”

“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,” he said in a statement.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

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