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Russian Federation suspended from Paralympics, some athletes exempted, says IPC

01 February, 2018, 00:59 | Author: Sylvester Abbott
  • Sergei Bobylev  TASS

The ban on Russian Federation competing at the 2018 Winter Paralympics has been upheld by the International Paralympic Committee.

Immediately after the revelations that Russian Paralympians had used anabolic steroids to gain an edge over their competitors in Sochi, the Paralympic Committee banned Russia in August 2016, weeks ahead of the Rio Games.

"However, in recognition of the progress made by the RPC in improving its anti-doping activities, it will allow eligible Russian Para athletes who meet strict conditions to compete in five sports under the name Neutral Paralympic Athlete (NPA)", it said.

In response to the criticism from the DBS, IPC President Andrew Parsons, who revealed he had spoken to International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) counterpart Sir Craig Reedie to inform them of the decision of the Governing Board, said he disagreed with Beuchler's view.

"We will welcome all athletes that are eligible to compete and meet the criteria set out by the IPC".

The latest IPC ruling is similar to the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last month.

Chelsey Gotell, the Chairperson of the IPC Athletes' Council, was less diplomatic in her comments about Russia, though she applauded the decision to allow Russian Para athletes to compete as neutrals.

The IPC said there is now a "different picture" in Russian Federation, compared to 2016 when the country's anti-doping system was found to be "totally compromised, corrupted and open to abuse". The athletes recently took part in a cross-country skiing race in the World Cup in Germany.

Critically, however, he also praised "solid progress" within Russian Federation with respect to antidoping education and drug testing - progress that had inspired confidence in the organization's ability to distinguish between clean athletes and tainted ones, he said. According to Parsons, this is the reason why the IPC maintains Russia's suspension. We have also witnessed behavioral and cultural changes by the RPC, which we hope will one day positively influence officials within the wider Russian Federation.

"Our taskforce will work with the neutral delegates to ensure that the competing athletes at both Games receive the same support as all other athletes to ensure they have the best Games experience possible".

Parsons noted that there had been improvements in Russia's doping system, though not enough.

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