Russia could miss the Rio Paralympics after the International Paralympic Committee opened suspension proceedings over the “unimaginable scale of institutionalised doping in Russian sport”.
The move came after Monday’s publication of Richard McLaren’s investigation into rampant Russian cheating — and as calls mounted for Russia to be excluded from the Olympic Games.
The IPC will decide whether Russia will be suspended from the Paralympics in the week beginning August 1. The Olympic Games opens on August 5 and the Paralympics takes place from September 7 to 18.
Should a ban be imposed, Russia’s National Paralympic Committee (NPC Russia) would have 21 days to lodge an appeal. A statement from the IPC read: “The IPC governing board on Friday (July 22) ratified a decision to open suspension proceedings against NPC Russia.
“In light of the prevailing doping culture endemic within Russian sport, at the very highest levels, NPC Russia appears unable or unwilling to ensure compliance with and the enforcement of the IPC’s anti-doping code within its own national jurisdiction.
“The IPC considers this vital to ensuring athletes are able to compete on a level playing field.”
Russia, with places for 267 athletes across 18 sports, has the third largest delegation for the Rio Paralympics, behind China and Brazil.
IPC president Philip Craven thanked McLaren for his cooperation. Craven said: “The report revealed an unimaginable scale of institutionalised doping in Russian sport that was orchestrated at the highest level. McLaren’s findings are of serious concern for everyone committed to clean and honest sport.”
The IPC said it had acted after McLaren provided the names of the athletes associated with the 35 “disappearing positive samples” from the Moscow laboratory highlighted in the report.
Nineteen samples potentially doctored as part of the sample-swapping regime during the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games have been sent for further analysis.
British International Olympic Committee member Adam Pengilly, who sits on the athletes’ commission, believes Russia should be totally excluded from RIo 2016.
Pengilly said: “The scale, co-ordination and leadership of a doping system like this is arguably the most heinous crime possible against the Olympic movement.
“So, somewhat reluctantly, I am led to one conclusion: Exclusion from Rio.
“I say reluctantly because there are very probably clean Russian athletes, and they will suffer, and this is nothing short of terrible.”
Doping is not only a Russian problem. Reanalysis of samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics in Beijing and London has exposed a further 45 positive tests, the International Olympic Committee announced yesterday.
The results from the second set of reanalysed samples — comprising 30 athletes from Beijing and 15 from London — takes the total number of athletes who have failed doping tests during the period of reanalysis so far to 98.
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