Russians cannot compete as neutrals

RIO DE JANEIRO • Russian athletes seeking to take part individually in the Paralympic Games to sidestep a blanket ban will not be allowed to compete under a neutral banner, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) ruled on Thursday.

An IPC statement said more than 175 Russian athletes who had applied to compete individually would remain barred from the Games, which open on Wednesday.

The IPC on Aug 7 announced it was banning Russian competitors from the Paralympic Games following a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) report which alleged a vast state-sponsored doping programme.

The IPC said on Thursday that its position had been backed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which had rejected a Russian request to require the body to accept applications from athletes who could show they were "clean".

"The IPC has considerable sympathy for all of the Russian athletes who are now unable to participate in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games," IPC chief executive Xavier Gonzalez said in a statement.

"The main goal of the IPC is to enable Para-athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world.

"Tragically, however, the Russian authorities have denied their athletes this chance through their actions.

"Once the Russian Paralympic Committee demonstrates that it will be able in the future to enforce the IPC Anti-Doping Code vigorously and effectively, without interference, the IPC will be glad to welcome Russian athletes back to international competition."

Russia continues to deny the findings of the Wada report, including the involvement of the sports ministry and the Russian secret service in doping fraud at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2016, with the headline 'Russians cannot compete as neutrals'. Print Edition | Subscribe