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Global Paralympic Committee Bars All Russian Competitors From Rio

  • RFE/RL

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has slammed the International Paralympic Committee's ruling, claiming it defied common sense. (file photo)

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has slammed the International Paralympic Committee's ruling, claiming it defied common sense. (file photo)

The global governing body for Paralympians has suspended the entire Russian team from competing in the upcoming games in Brazil, due to doping concerns.

The International Paralympic Committee said in a statement on August 7 that Russia had engaged in state-sponsored doping of athletes, calling it an "unprecedented attack" on clean competitors who do not use performance-enhancing drugs.

The move affects nearly 270 Russians who were expected to compete in the Rio Paralympics, scheduled to begin next month.

The committee's president, Philip Craven, said Russian Paralympians were part of a broken system, and he voiced sympathy for those who avoided doping.

Russian sports officials reacted angrily to the announcement. Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who was implicated in a damning report by international investigators last month, was quoted by the state news agency TASS as saying that the decision defied common sense.

He said Russia would be appealing the ban to the international arbitration panel that adjudicates sport disputes.

The committee's blanket ban contrasts sharply with that of the International Olympic Committee which avoided such a move, instead deferring to individual sporting federations.

Nonetheless, the international agency overseeing athletics made the unprecedented decision to bar Russia's entire track-and-field team from participating in the Brazil games.

Several other sporting federations took similar measures, resulting in more than 100 other sportsmen and women being banned from Rio.

Investigators for the World Anti-Doping Agency last month issued a damning report on systematic doping in Russia that implicated the country's main security agency and its main doping laboratory.

With reporting by dpa, Reuters, and TASS
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