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Now Russian athletes face ban from Paralympics

By Robert Jones

Published 23/07/2016

Damning report: Richard McLaren
Damning report: Richard McLaren

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has "opened suspension proceedings" against Russia which could potentially result in the country's athletes being banned from the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, which begin in September.

The extent of Russia's 'state-sponsored' doping scheme, which oversaw the manipulation of athletes' drugs tests at major international competitions between 2011 and 2015, was revealed earlier this week in a report compiled for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) by Canadian sports lawyer Richard McLaren.

The report found that the Russian government, its sports authorities and security services conspired to hide doping at several major events - including the 2012 London Games -following a poor medal return at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Between that period, Russia hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, where their total number of medals increased from their Vancouver tally.

The IPC expects to announce its final decision on Russia's suspension in the first week of August, five weeks before the start of the Paralympics on September 7.

Sir Philip Craven, the IPC President, commented: "Richard McLaren's findings are of serious concern for everyone who is committed to clean and honest sport.

"The additional information that we have been provided with by Richard McLaren includes the names of the Paralympic athletes who have been associated with the 35 'disappearing positive samples' from the Moscow laboratory which have been highlighted in the report.

"We are also urgently following up on McLaren's recommendation for 19 samples from the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games to be sent for further analysis, having been identified as part of the sample swapping regime in place during the Games."

If Russia were to be suspended from the competition, they would have 21 days to appeal the decision.

The country's track and field athletes have already been banned from the Olympic Games, which get under way in Rio next month, and Russia failed with an appeal to overturn the decision.

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