Russia’s entire Paralympic team is banned from next month’s Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro as part of the same doping scandal that also cost Russia a large part of its Olympic team.
“The anti-doping system in Russia is broken, corrupted and entirely compromised,” Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, told a news conference in Rio on Sunday.
In scathing language, Craven went on to say:
“I believe the Russian government has catastrophically failed its para athletes. Their medals over morals mentality disgusts me. The complete corruption of the anti-doping system is contrary to the rules and strikes at the very heart of the spirit of Paralympic sport. It shows a blatant disregard for the health and well-being of athletes and, quite simply, has no place in Paralympic sport. Their thirst for glory at all costs has severely damaged the integrity and image of all sport.”
“As a result, the Russian Paralympic Committee is suspended with immediate effect,” he added. The committee said its decision was unanimous.
Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said his country would appeal the ban, Reuters reported.
The Olympic Games, which opened Friday, run through Aug. 21 in Rio, while the the Paralympics will be held in the city from Sept. 7 through 18.
The Paralympic Committee said Russia had received 267 slots for its para athletes in 18 sports and it was now trying to determine what to do with those positions, which could go to other countries.
Many of Russia’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes were tested at the same Moscow lab that’s been implicated in the doping scandal.
Yet the International Olympic Committee decided not to ban the entire Russian Olympic team despite a detailed report last month by the The World Anti-Doping Agency that found evidence of systematic, state-sponsored doping in Russia dating back to 2010. About 120 Russian Olympic athletes have been barred and around 270 have been cleared to compete.
The report last month found there were recurring cases of “disappearing positive samples” at the Moscow lab where athletes and para-athletes were tested. That investigation produced 35 names of Russian para-athletes who had disappearing samples, the IPC said.
The Russians have one of the world’s top Paralympic teams. They won 102 medals at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, coming in third, behind China and Great Britain and just ahead of the United States.