Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) is to appeal its suspension by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), it announced at a press conference in Moscow today (video below). “I believe none of the national Paralympic committees were more rigorous and attentive in implementing the anti-doping program than the RPC”, said RPC President Vladimir Lukin. “We are ready to prove that with evidence”.
Lukin also said that the decision to impose a blanket ban constituted a “grave human rights abuse”. Earlier, senator and powerlifter Eduard Isakov wrote on his blog that the ban could constitute a violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and it is understood that this argument could form part of the RPC’s appeal.
The IPC decision was based on its finding that samples from Russian paralympic athletes had been manipulated as part of the ‘disappearing positive’ methodology outlined in the WADA IP Report. The RPC has been given until 28 August to file its planned appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). As things stand, 267 Russian para athletes across 18 sports will not be going to the Rio 2016 Paralympics, 7-18 September.
In its statement, the IPC outlined the evidence it had received from Richard McLaren, who compiled the WADA IP Report. A total of 27 samples were identified as relating to eight paralympic sports (five summer paralympic sports and three winter paralympic sports). The IPC said that of the 27 samples, ‘at least’ 11 were marked ‘save’. It also found that the sample bottle caps from 18 of 21 samples taken from para athletes at Sochi 2014 sent to London for reanalysis ‘showed scratches and marks that were consistent with those found on the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games samples’.
“It must be stressed that all these findings have been discovered following just 76 days of investigation by Professor McLaren and his team”, said IPC President Sir Philip Craven in a speech. “They believe that there are likely to be even more samples that were included in the ‘disappearing positive’ methodology”.
“Tragically, this situation is not about athletes cheating a system, but about a State run system that is cheating the athletes”, continued Craven. “The doping culture that is polluting Russian sport stems from the Russian government and has now been uncovered in not one, but two independent reports commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. I believe the Russian government has catastrophically failed its Para athletes. Their medals over morals mentality disgusts me. The complete corruption of the anti-doping system is contrary to the rules and strikes at the very heart of the spirit of Paralympic sport. It shows a blatant disregard for the health and well-being of athletes and, quite simply, has no place in Paralympic sport. Their thirst for glory at all costs has severely damaged the integrity and image of all sports, and has certainly resulted in a devastating outcome for the Russian Paralympic Committee and Para athletes.”
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