CCES Commends the IPC Decision to Maintain Russian Suspension

Russian athletes who meet

Russia has been banned from the 2018 Paralympic Games, officials announced on Monday, refusing to lift a ban because of what they called an insufficient recovery from the Russian doping scandal.

Russian Federation was banned Monday from the upcoming Pyeongchang Paralympics because of its doping past.

But Russian Para-athletes who can prove they are clean will be allowed to compete in Pyeongchang as neutrals.

"Russian Para athletes are now regularly tested and are amongst the most scrutinized Para athletes in the world", IPC President Andrew Parsons said in a statement.

The IPC's decision reflects that of the International Olympic Committee that barred the Russian team from participating in the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang which run from February 8-25, but allowed 169 Russians to compete individually.

While those Russian athletes permitted to take part in the Winter Olympics will do so under the name "Olympics athletes from Russia" in special uniforms not unlike those of the Russian national squads, the Paralympians will be allowed to compete only with the status "neutral Paralympic athletes", removing the country affiliation entirely.

Chelsey Gotell, the Chairperson of the IPC Athletes' Council, was less diplomatic in her comments about Russia, though she applauded the decision to allow Russian Para athletes to compete as neutrals.

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"We now have greater confidence that the anti-doping system in Russian Federation is no longer compromised or corrupted".

Beucher claimed the IPC had been influenced by external pressure to create a way in which Russian athletes can compete. Under the sport rules for Para ice hockey, a Neutral Paralympic Athlete (NPA) team could not be considered as Russian Federation had missed the opportunity to qualify.

The neutral Paralympic athletes will be allowed to compete in Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, snowboard and curling. There will be also no Russian flag permitted at any venue during the Paralympics.

The IPC suspended Russia's membership in August 2016 over what then-IPC president Philip Craven called a "medals over morals" culture with endemic cheating.

"We believe that with the criteria we have, and the fact that the landscape has changed when it comes to anti-doping in Russian Federation, we can confidently say the NPA team will be as clean as any other athlete".

"So the organising committee has measures in place if any other, including the Russian flag, arises in the stand".

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