The Court of Arbitration for Sport, sport’s highest court, on Tuesday upheld a decision by the International Paralympic Committee to exclude the Russian Paralympic team from the next big games in Rio de Janeiro as punishment for a state-backed doping program.
The ban on Russia's entire Paralympic team means the 267 entries that Russian Paralympic athletes earned in 18 sports for the September 7-18 games in Rio will now be allocated to other nations not judged responsible for orchestrated cheating.
Russian Paralympians won 36 gold medals at the 2012 Paralympics, second most in London, and were a runaway table-topping leader at its home 2014 Winter Paralympics. The Sochi Winter Games and Winter Paralympics are now notorious for results corrupted by state-funded agencies that plotted to swap tainted doping samples from Russian athletes for clean ones at official testing laboratories.
Russian Paralympic Committee’s appeal against exclusion from competing in Rio was dismissed by the CAS after a hearing was held in Brazil on Monday. In a statement, the CAS said its judges agreed that the world Paralympic body did not violate any procedural rule in banning the Russian team. The CAS statement added the decision to ban the Russian team was made in accordance with the IPC Rules and was proportionate in the circumstances. The Court’s judging panel said the Russian appeal to CAS did not file any evidence contradicting the facts on which the IPC decision was based. The IPC, the world governing body, used evidence from an ongoing WADA-appointed investigation into a Russian state program of doping and cover-ups. The International Paralympic Committee had remarked it had evidence of manipulated doping tests relating to 44 Russian athletes, including 27 from competitors in eight sports on the Paralympic program.
International Paralympic Committee President Philip Craven had previously said of Russia that their medals-over-morals mentality disgust him. Craven remarked after the decision that the ruling was a sad day for the Paralympic Movement, but we hope also a new beginning. The IPC Chief further added the 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. Craven added in a statement it was still 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.
Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev blamed the ban on politics. Medvedev remarked the investigation about the Russian doping is a thick and disgusting mix containing 80 percent of politics and 20 percent of the actual doping, the politics targeting against sports, Russian athletes and Russia as a country. The ban was described by the Russian PM as a doubly cynical decision since we are talking about people who have to overcome themselves every day and also remarked it is a blow for all disabled people, not just the Russian ones. Russia’s strength as a competitor was a factor in the blanket ban, Medvedev added. The Russian PM also said one certainly sees in this decision a striving of some leaders of the international Paralympic movement to eliminate strong rivals since our team always won top spots.