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Russian athletes suspended by IPC from Winter Games

01 February, 2018, 01:00 | Author: John Swanson
  • Individual Russian athletes will be allowed to compete under a neutral flag at the Pyeongchang Paralympic Winter Games

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) commends the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) decision to maintain the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) from the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games due to state-sponsored doping because two criteria for reinstatement remain outstanding.

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.

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

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The IOC has authorized 169 Russian athletes to compete as neutrals at the Winter Olympics after they passed an anti-doping panel. "We now have greater confidence that the anti-doping system in Russian Federation is no longer compromised and corrupted. Russian Para athletes are now regularly tested and are amongst the most scrutinised Para athletes in the world".

The IPC estimates that between 30 and 35 neutral athletes will take part at PyeongChang 2018 in alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, snowboard and wheelchair curling. "We have also witnessed behavioral and cultural changes".

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. Under the sport rules for Para ice hockey, a Neutral Paralympic Athlete (NPA) team could not be considered as Russian Federation had missed the opportunity to qualify. There will be also no Russian flag permitted at any venue during the Paralympics.

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Russians had been allowed to compete as neutral athletes in some qualifying events ahead of the games before a final decision, but that came too late for Russia to qualify in hockey. Investigations commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and largely confirmed now by inquiries by both the Olympic and Paralympic committees, found that Russian sporting officials had overseen an elaborate cover-up of doping by their athletes for years, sometimes aided by the country's security services, that allowed dozens of Russian athletes to cheat, including at consecutive Olympics.

"Under the supervision of WADA, we now have greater confidence that the anti-doping system in Russian Federation is no longer compromised or corrupted".

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