‘Door to 2018 Winter Games still open for Russian Paralympians’

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Moscow, Feb 1 (IANS) Russian athletes will be able to take part in the 2018 Winter Games in South Koreas PyeongChang if the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) restores the country’s membership in May, a member of the IPC Athletes Council has said.

The IPC Governing Board on Sunday unanimously turned down a request from the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) to allow its athletes enter the upcoming qualification events for the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympic Winter Games while its membership remains suspended, reports Tass.

“The IPC decision to bar Russian athletes from the 2018 Games qualification leaves little chance for the athletes to take part in the Paralympic Games, but it is still a chance nevertheless,” Mikhail Terentyev said on Tuesday

“This road will be difficult, additional qualification rounds may be held during the next season. If the IPC thinks that the possible resumption of the Russian Paralympic Committee’s membership leaves some chance for participating in the Korean Paralympics, then this chance really does exist.”

The IPC on August 7, 2016, decided to bar the entire Russian team from taking part in the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on August 23 upheld the IPC ruling that came on the heels of a report delivered in July by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission, chaired by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren.

Besides collectively punishing the Russian national team by banning it from the Rio Games, the IPC also decided to suspend RPC’s membership in the international organisation. The Russian Paralympic team is now facing a possibility of being banned from the 2018 Winter Paralympics.

The IPC on November 21 made public a list of criteria Russia must meet to resume the RPC membership and be allowed to take part in international competitions. Officials from the two Paralympic organisations met in mid-December in Bonn to discuss these criteria

The Russian Paralympic Committee then referred to the IPC its roadmap for resumption of its membership.

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