August 07, 2016 (Bonn, Germany) – The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has banned all Russian athletes from the Rio Paralympic Games. This follows in the aftermath of a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report by Canadian Richard McLaren, confirming evidence of “jaw-dropping” state-sponsored doping in Russia.
The IPC’s decision is unprecedented as it announced its decision at a press conference in Rio today (Sunday). McLaren, investigated systemic doping across most Olympic sports as well as 35 “disappearing positives” from Paralympic disciplines over the past four years. Russia is expected to appeal the IPC’s decision to the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS).
WADA recommended banning the Russians from both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, but there are suggestions of allowing individual Russians to compete under a neutral flag.
The IPC stance contrasts sharply with the recent International Olympic Committee (IOC) response to simply pass the buck to international sporting federations as to whether Russians should be be allowed to compete at the Olympic Games. Ultimately, athletics, rowing, weightlifting and canoeing federations banned Russian athletes, but some 271 Russian athletes are competing in other sports, including cycling.
IPC president, Sir Philip Craven views this decision as the most important and one of the most difficult that his movement has even considered reports The Guardian.
The Canadian Paralympic Committee issued a statement applauding the IPC decision and noting that there might be a redistribution of slots for the Games. “The IPC is now working with the relevant International Federations to determine how the 267 slots Russian athletes had secured across 18 sports for Rio 2016 [Paralympics] can be potentially redistributed. The redistribution will not be confirmed until after all potential appeals from Russia are concluded, which could take up to 21 days.”
The 2016 Paralympic Games run from September 7-18 in Rio de Janeiro, using many of the same venues used by the Olympic Games.