Russia loses appeal over Paralympic ban
In a ruling handed down on Tuesday, the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed an appeal filed by the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) against the decision of the International Paralympic (IPC) Committee to ban all Russian athletes from the Rio Games.
The ruling is final and means that no Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in the Paralympics, which begin on September 7.
"The CAS Panel in charge of this matter found that the IPC did not violate any procedural rule in dealing with the disciplinary process leading to the RPC’s suspension and that the decision to ban the RPC was made in accordance with the IPC Rules and was proportionate in the circumstances," a statement posted on the website of the CAS said.
It added that a full ruling would be issued in a few days' time.
The Governing Board of the IPC handed down the ban on August 7 after the publication of a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which found that the Russian government and the FSB security service had covered up hundreds of doping cases affecting a wide range of Olympic and Paralympic sports.
Russia has claimed that the IPC ruling was politically motivated.
Commenting on the Tuesday decision, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that it was a "heavy blow not only to Russian athletes but also to all people with disabilities."
In a statement on his Facebook page in English and Russian, Medvedev said that doping was widespread in "nearly all sports in all countries." He once more rejected the allegations of state-sponsored doping and restated the pledge to "cleanse sports."
"The story of the investigation into Russian doping is a thick and very nasty cocktail, 80 percent of which is politics and 20 percent is the doping itself," Medvedev wrote.
"It's a policy aimed against Russian sport, Russian athletes and Russia as a state," he added, motivated by states seeking out their "traditional enemy."
'Thirst for glory'
The barred athletes would file complaints at the European Court of Human Rights, Russian Paralympic Committee President Vladimir Lukin said.
Previously, International Paralympic Committee president Philip Craven said that Russia's "thirst for glory at all costs has severely damaged the integrity and image of all sport."
"Their medals over morals attitude disgusts me," he added.
The IPC's reaction to the WADA report was much clearer than the decision made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which issued no ban on Russian athletes, leaving it up to the governing bodies of the individual sports to decide. This resulted in the vast majority of qualifying Russian athletes competing in the Rio Olympics.
Around 250 Russians had qualified to compete in the Paralympics.
pfd,dj/rc (dpa, Reuters)