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Russia’s Entire Paralympic Team Banned from Upcoming Games

The entire Russian team has been banned from competing in the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in September as a punishment for the country's failure to comply with anti-doping regulations.

The decision is to ensure "fair competition," Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, said today in Rio. "This is vital to the integrity and credibility of Paralympic sport, and in order to achieve this it is fundamental that each member abides by the rules," he said.

"I believe the Russian government has catastrophically failed their para-athletes. Their thirst for glory at all costs has significantly damaged all sport," Craven added.
"The medals over morals attitude disgusts me."

The international committee's governing board made the decision unanimously after evaluating evidence and allowing the Russian Paralympic Committee to present its case both in writing and in person and determined that the Russian committee was unable to ensure compliance with and enforcement of anti-doping codes.

The problem of doping among Russian athletes was exposed by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren last month. His report followed an earlier investigation into doping cover-ups in Russian track and field.

McLaren reported that Russia's state-backed doping led to samples from Paralympic athletes being made to disappear.

Craven said the McLaren report "marked one of the darkest days in the history of all sports" as it "questioned the integrity and credibility of sport as we know it."

The Russian Paralympic Committee now has 21 days to appeal the decision, according to the International Paralympic Committee’s suspension policy.

“This decision has placed a huge burden upon all our shoulders, but it’s a decision we’ve had to take in the best interests of the Paralympic Movement," Craven said.

Russia finished second in the medal standings at the 2012 London Paralympics.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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