The International Paralympic Committee has announced the entire Russian Paralympic team is facing a possible ban from the upcoming Summer Games in Brazil due to signs of widespread drug violations among Russian disabled athletes.
The IPC announcement was the latest development that points to widespread Russian doping practices in recent years though it was the most serious allegations against the Paralympic athletes of Russia.
The International Paralympic Committee said Russia appears unable or unwilling to ensure compliance in light of the prevailing doping culture endemic within Russian sport, at the very highest levels. The IPC disclosed it had received the names of 35 Russian Paralympic athletes with "disappearing positive samples" from a Moscow lab that has been implicated in the broader doping scandal.
A World Anti-Doping Agency report released highlighted to the recurring cases of the disappearing positive samples in the lab among many Russian athletes. The Paralympic Committee said the investigation produced the 35 names of Russian Paralympic athletes. Sir Philip Craven, the president of the International Paralympic Committee, remarked the report revealed an unimaginable scale of institutionalized doping in Russian sport that was orchestrated at the highest level.
The WADA report revealed Russia launched an extensive state-sponsored doping program after a poor showing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where it won just 15 medals and came in sixth overall. The Russians won 33 medals, more than any other country in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The WADA report also disclosed the Russians made use of a "mouse hole" in the anti-doping lab for swapping out urine samples that were expected to show banned substances with clean samples the same athlete had provided months earlier.
The International Paralympic Committee is likely to announce during the first week of next month whether it will suspend the entire Russian Paralympic team. The Russian para athletes would presumably be barred from the upcoming competition in Rio if the IPC decides to take stringent action. The Paralympic Games will be held September 7-18, following the Olympic Summer Games, which end on August 21.
The Russians have one of the top Paralympic teams and won won 102 medals at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, coming in third, behind only China and Great Britain and just ahead of the United States.
In another development, the International Olympic Committee has announced t retested urine samples from athletes at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Games and found an additional 45 positive tests for banned substances, including at least 20 medal winners. The number of additional positive tests - comprising 30 athletes from Beijing and 15 from London - now takes the total count of athletes who have failed doping tests during the reanalysis period so far to 98.
The IOC is presently under pressure to extend the ban imposed by the world governing body of athletics on Russian competitors in Rio to all sports.
Former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev has called on the IOC to allow Russian athletes to compete at Rio 2016. Gorbachev remarked he supports the fight against the use of banned substances in sports and added it is an evil that must be eradicated. Gorbachev added the athletes whose use of doping has been proven must be banished from competition and also said he is deeply troubled by the fact that Russian citizens are among the officials and athletes who used doping and fraud for 'victory at any price'.
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