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Rio 2016 Paralympics: Upheld ban on Russia is not a source of celebration - Philip Craven

By Robert Jones

International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president Sir Philip Craven declared “it is not a day for celebration” despite the Court of Arbitration for Sport upholding Russia’s exclusion from the Rio Paralympic Games.

The Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) challenged its suspension, which was imposed by the IPC on August 7 in the wake of a damning report into the country’s state-run doping programme. However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) found that the decision was justified, meaning Russia will not be represented in the upcoming Games at Rio 2016.

CAS said in a statement: “The Court of Arbitration for Sport has dismissed the appeal filed by the Russian Paralympic Committee against the decision rendered by governing board of the International Paralympic Committee on 7 August 2016. As a consequence, the IPC decision is confirmed.”

Craven admitted that he had sympathy for any clean Russian athletes who would be excluded from the Games, which runs from September 7-18.

“We are greatly encouraged that the CAS Panel has upheld the IPC Governing Board’s unanimous decision to hold the Russian Paralympic Committee accountable for its membership responsibilities and obligations,” Craven said in an IPC statement.

“Today’s decision underlines our strong belief that doping has absolutely no place in Paralympic sport, and further improves our ability to ensure fair competition for all Para athletes around the world.

“Although we are pleased with the decision, it is not a day for celebration and we have enormous sympathy for the Russian athletes who will now miss out on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. It is a sad day for the Paralympic movement, but we hope also a new beginning. We hope this decision acts as a catalyst for change in Russia and we can welcome the Russian Paralympic Committee back as a member safe in the knowledge that it is fulfilling its obligations to ensure fair competition.”

The CAS ruling found that the RPC had failed to provide any evidence which challenged the facts of the initial decision.

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