Russia Paralympic Committee files appeal against doping ban

The Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) filed an appeal Monday to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the blanket ban from the 2016 Rio Games.

With just over three weeks to go until the start of the Paralympics, Russia are responding to the suspension handed down by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on August 8.

ZpPUFS1uhwnn1NXZSRkWzhP6ren2zdGmThe IPC’s move to ban followed a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigation into systemic, state-sponsored doping. The McLaren report claimed that Russia’s sports ministry “directed, controlled and oversaw” manipulation of urine samples provided by its athletes from before London 2012, through Sochi 2014 and beyond.

In contrast, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) received criticism for refusing to initiate a collective suspension proceeding, instead leaving the decision up to individual federations. In the end, more than 270 Russian athletes were given the green light to compete in Rio.

The Paralympics begin on Sept.7, while the CAS appeal is scheduled for Aug. 21 and 22.  A total of 267 Russian competitors are currently slated to miss the Games.

Russian Paralympic Committee president Vladimir Lukin
Russian Paralympic Committee president Vladimir Lukin

Vladimir Lukin, the president of the RPC, admitted in the wake of the ban that athletes across many countries, including Russia, had committed doping violations which, “should be investigated thoroughly and objectively,” but that the blanket ban was “second class political intrigue”.

“We will stand our ground in a civilized way,” said Lukin.

IPC president Sir Philip Craven was staunch in his defence of the suspension of all Russian athletes.

“Tragically this situation is not about athletes cheating a system, but about a state-run system that is cheating the athletes,” said Craven. “The anti-doping system in Russia is broken, corrupted and entirely compromised.”

While there are concerns about the collectivizing of athlete guilt, a precedent setting adjudication process, the Russian Paralympic Committee were permitted to present its case before the IPC decided on the ban.

If the appeal fails, it is unclear how the IPC will redistribute quota spots. The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is on standby to make additions to its roster and supports the upholding of the ban.

“The Canadian Paralympic Committee applauds the International Paralympic Committee’s strong leadership and continued stance on ensuring that our movement upholds the values of clean sport and fair play,” said President Gaétan Tardiff.

“We continue to remain focused on providing a high performance, distraction-free environment for Team Canada’s Paralympic athletes who are getting ready to compete in Rio in September.”

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