CCES Commends the IPC Decision to Maintain Russian Suspension


Russian fans banned from waving flags at PyeongChang Paralympics The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has banned Russian fans from waving the national tricolor at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympics following the organization's decision to keep Russia's suspension in force. Russian Federation was 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).

"Although the RPC remains suspended they have made significant progress and we have to recognise this".

The IPC said qualified Russians will participate under the name "Neutral Paralympic Athlete" (NPA) in five sports - alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, snowboard and wheelchair.

The IPC suspended the membership of the Russian Paralympic Committee in August 2016 and excluded all Russian athletes from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics.

"In the summer of 2016 the anti-doping system in Russian Federation was found to be totally compromised, corrupted and open to abuse", IPC President Andrew Parsons said.

Some Russian athletes however will still be allowed to take part as neutrals in certain sports, provided they are able to meet certain conditions.

"We are very proud to be part of the change".

Beucher claimed the IPC had been influenced by external pressure to create a way in which Russian athletes can compete. There will be also no Russian flag permitted at any venue during the Paralympics. 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.

Russians had been allowed to compete as neutral athletes in some qualifying events ahead of the games before a final decision, but that came too late for Russia to qualify in hockey.

To be reinstated, Russian officials must either accept or disprove World Anti-Doping Agency investigations which found it ran a doping program.

"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".

The Russian Paralympic Committee was praised for fulfilling other criteria which also required it to tighten up enforcement of drug-testing rules and distance itself from what the IPC called government "propaganda".