Banned Russia will hold its own Para competition

MOSCOW • Russia will hold a two-day competition next week for its Paralympic squad banned from Rio, a top sports official said on Wednesday after Switzerland's federal court rejected their final appeal.

"We're planning to hold on Sept 7-8 a series of tournaments for the country's Paralympic athletes at the training bases in the Moscow region," R-Sport news agency quoted Russia's Paralympic Committee head Vladimir Lukin as saying.

Switzerland's Federal Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal aimed at overturning a blanket ban on Russia from the Paralympics over allegations of state-run doping.

The ruling - which followed an earlier rejection by the Court of Arbitration for Sport - means that Russia appears to have exhausted all legal alleyways to get back into the Paralympics before they start next Wednesday.

Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin lashed out against the ban, calling the decision "outside the law, morality, humanity".

But he vowed to give Russia's banned Paralympians a platform "to show all their skills".

A Kremlin spokesman said on Wednesday that it was still to be decided if Putin would attend the event.

Following cuts to the Paralympics budget, which were announced less than a fortnight ago after Rio 2016 ran out of money to stage the Games in their intended form, athletes arriving in Brazil have been forced to clean "grimy" apartments in the Athletes' Village and arrange their own transportation, according to The Telegraph.

The British newspaper reported that this situation has prompted the president of the International Paralympic Committee, Philip Craven, to declare: "Never before in the 56-year history of the Paralympic Games have we faced circumstances like this."

There are now fears that the Paralympians would be treated like "second-class citizens" in comparison to their able-bodied counterparts.

Nevertheless, there was some relief for the organisers on Wednesday when Brazilian oil company Petroleo Brasileiro said on it will spend 10.5 million reais (S$4.4 million) to buy marketing rights to the Games.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2016, with the headline 'Banned Russia will hold its own Para competition'. Subscribe