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Entire Russian Team Banned From Paralympics in Rio Over Doping

The International Paralympic Committee on Sunday announced it was immediately suspending the entire Russian Paralympic contingent because of a rampant doping scandal.

The move was punishment for the country running a doping operation that polluted sports by prioritizing "medals over morals," according to the IPC.

"This decision has placed a huge burden upon all our shoulders, but it's a decision we've had to take in the best interests of the Paralympic Movement," IPC President Sir Phillip Craven said in a release.

"Ultimately, as the global governing body for the Paralympic Movement, it is our responsibility to ensure fair competition, so that athletes can have confidence that they are competing on a level playing field," he said."This is vital to the integrity and credibility of Paralympic sport, and in order to achieve this it is fundamental that each member abides by the rules."

Image:
In this file photo taken on Monday, March 24, 2014, Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee, right, speaks as Russian President Vladimir Putin, standing background center, listens to him during an awards ceremony in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. Alexei Druzhinin / AP

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The Russian Paralympic Committee was allowed to present its case both in writing and in person, and after further evaluation of all the evidence, the IPC Governing Board unanimously determined that the RPC was unable to ensure that they complied with the enforcement of the IPC's Anti Doping Code along with the World Anti-Doping Code within its own national jurisdiction.

The RPC will be given 21 days to appeal the IPC's decision, or they will be suspended indefinitely from all rights and privileges of IPC membership.

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Craven added, in scathing critique: "I believe the Russian government has catastrophically failed its Para athletes. Their medals over morals mentality disgusts me. The complete corruption of the anti-doping system is contrary to the rules and strikes at the very heart of the spirit of Paralympic sport. It shows a blatant disregard for the health and well-being of athletes and, quite simply, has no place in Paralympic sport."

The blanket ban on Russia is in sharp contrast to decision by the International Olympic Committee last month to allow individual sports organizations to decide whether Russian athletes could compete in the Olympics.

"This is an unprecedented decision," Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told reporters after the decision. "I don't understand what it's based on. It looks like it was made by a single person. And a lot of athletes, a lot of people with disabilities are affected. We will be providing every support to the Russian Paralympic Committee. The RPC should go to court. We'll figure out whether it'll be CAS [Court of Arbitration for Sport] or some other court."

The 2016 Paralympics will take place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, from September 7-18.