LONDON: The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on Wednesday maintained Russia’s doping suspension with a decision on their participation in the 2018 Paralympics to be made in January.
In a statement IPC president Andrew Parsons said they had extended the ban as the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) had not made sufficient progress to justify their reinstatement.“”The RPC is making headway with the IPC on three of the five remaining reinstatement criteria.
“However sadly, and much to our growing disappointment and frustration, there is a lack of progress regarding an official response from the Russian authorities specifically and adequately addressing the McLaren findings and evidence.”
Russia were suspended by the IPC in August 2016 following revelations of widespread state-sponsored doping uncovered in a report by Richard McLaren on behalf of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
It also saw the country’s track and field team banned from the 2016 Rio Olympics.The IPC established a taskforce to monitor and assist the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) in a process of reforming.
Parsons added: “The IPC Taskforce still has significant concerns as to the lack of any material progress regarding the provision of an official response from the Russian authorities that adequately addresses the findings made by Professor McLaren.
“This is a requirement of the WADA roadmap for the reinstatement of RUSADA and a reinstatement criterion for the RPC.”He concluded that it was “keeping the door open” for Russia to compete at Pyeongchang for as long as possible but warned that “January’s deadline is fast approaching”.
Russian Sports minister Pavel Kolobkov said he was “surprised” at the IPC’s decision and suggested the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) “had met all its obligations”.The RPC said it was regrettable that “the hostages” of the IPC’s demands were the athletes “whose faults haven’t been proved”.
The 2018 Paralympics are being staged in South Korea from March 9-18.The IPC’s statement follows this month’s announcement from the International Olympic Committee banning Russia from the 2018 Games but allowing some carefully vetted Russian athletes to compete under the Olympic flag and under the name ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’.