MOSCOW: Vladimir Lukin, head of the Russian Paralympic Committee, has said it is ready to go to sort’s supreme court to challenge the organisation’s suspension from the Rio Games writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
He will have support from Olympc powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, head of the Association of National Olympic Committees.
On Sunday the executive board of the International Paralympic Committee decided that the revelations of a state-sponsored strategy of doping cover-up in Russian sport ruled out its participation in next month’s Paralympic Games.
IPC president Sir Philip Craven said he was “disgusted” by the country’s “medals over morals” philosophy.
However Lukin, taking his lead from Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko’s initial expression of shock, said the RPC would fight a decision which was unfair to clean athletes. The IPC decision also contrasted with the devolution strategy of the International Olympic Committee concerning Rio 2016.
Lukin described the decision as a “gross violation of our athletes’ human rights” and a “second-class political intrigue”. He conceded some Russian paralympians had committed doping violations but athletes from many other countries had done the same.
He added: “A lawsuit will be filed in the coming days, tomorrow or the day after. A draft text of the appeal has already been drawn up and will be confirmed tomorrow. We will pursue legal action, most likely initially in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”
The IPC opened a case on July 22 against RPC after being informed that 35 Russian competitors had been identified by the investigation run by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren at the request of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Sheikh weighs in
Support for the Russians came came from influential Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad, who heads up both ANOC and the Olympic Council of Asia.
He said: “We are deeply concerned by the IPC’s decision which will unfairly punish clean Russian athletes and prevent them from fulfilling the goal they have worked towards over the last four years.
“While recognising the difference in the structures of Paralympic sport in Russia, the IPC [is] favouring collective responsibility over individual justice.
“We strongly believe that the IPC should have followed the lead of the IOC to give international federations the responsibility of determining whether their Russian athletes should be able to compete at the Paralympic Games.
“Every Russian athlete should be given the opportunity to prove their innocence. Everyone in the Paralympic movement has a responsibility to protect clean athletes.”