Russian Federation banned from Winter Paralympics over doping

Lawrence Cooper
January 31, 2018

It will be the second Paralympics without a Russian team.

Russia's Paralympic committee deputy chief Rima Batalova said the announcement was not a surprise.

But Russian Para-athletes who can prove they are clean will be allowed to compete in Pyeongchang as neutrals.

The Paralympic decision stands somewhat in contrast to the International Olympic Committee's ruling on Russia's participation in the 2018 Winter Games next month in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The Russia team is formally banned by the IOC for doping but 169 Russian athletes are allowed to compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" in neutral uniforms under the Olympic flag.

The news agency also says athletes from the two Koreas will march together under a flag representing the Korean Peninsula at the opening ceremony of the Paralympics - the same arrangement agreed on for the PyeongChang Olympics.

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The IPC's president, Andrew Parsons, told a news conference in Bonn, Germany, that its board had voted to keep Russia's national Paralympic committee suspended, meaning that Russian Federation is excluded from taking part in the games in the South Korean town of Pyeongchang this March.

The IOC ruled Chudinov was part of a Russian doping scheme at the 2014 Olympics and ordered he was "ineligible to be accredited in any capacity" for future Olympics.

Nonetheless, those officials said, certain disabled Russian athletes will have the opportunity to compete at the coming Winter Games - a decision taken with some disagreement among top Paralympics executives, who were unanimous in their decision not to lift the ban.

"Although the RPC remains suspended they have made significant progress and we have to recognise this", said IPC president Andrew Parsons. Parsons also asserted that the country's anti-doping system "is no longer compromised or corrupted". Russia's president Vladimir Putin in December suggested that the doping allegations against his country were created to harm his re-election chances and implied American intelligence agencies could be behind them.

Since then, there has been enough improvement to justify allowing Russians to compete as neutral athletes after extra drug testing, Parsons said.

Russian officials have denounced the Olympic ban as a USA -led plot to pressure Russia.

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