Nearly one-third of Russia’s Olympic team has already been barred from the Rio Olympics as part of a major doping scandal. Now, an announcement is expected Sunday on whether the country’s Paralympic team will be allowed to compete.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported Saturday that the International Paralympic Committee was likely to ban the entire Russian squad of para-athletes, but did not cite a source for the story.
The IPC issued a statement saying that “contrary to media reports, the International Paralympic Committee has not yet announced its decision regarding the membership status of the Russian Paralympic Committee.”
It said the decision would come at a press conference Sunday.
The International Olympic Committee decided not to ban the entire Russian Olympic team despite a detailed report last month by the World Anti-Doping Agency that found evidence of a state-sponsored doping program in Russia dating back to 2010.
The IOC let individual sporting federations rule on the Russian athletes. Nearly 120 Russian athletes were barred and about 270 have been allowed to compete in Rio, where the first full day of competition began Saturday and will run for the next two weeks.
The Paralympics will be held in Rio from Sept. 7 through 18.
Many of Russia’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes were tested at the same Moscow lab that’s been implicated in the doping scandal.
The World Anti-Doping Agency last month reported that there were recurring cases of “disappearing positive samples” at the lab. That investigation produced the 35 names of Russian para-athletes who had disappearing samples, the International Paralympic Committee said.
“The report revealed an unimaginable scale of institutionalized doping in Russian sport that was orchestrated at the highest level,” Sir Philip Craven, the president of the International Paralympic Committee, said in a statement on July 22.
The Russians have one of the top Paralympic teams. They 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.