You can read 19 more articles this month
RUSSIA was banned today from the upcoming Pyeongchang Paralympics because of its doping past.
However, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said about 30-35 Russians will be allowed to compete in five sports as neutral athletes at the games, which run from March 8-18.
That mirrors the situation for next month's Olympics. The Russian team has been barred, but 169 Russians have been invited to compete.
"We are not rewarding Russia but we are allowing athletes that we believe are clean to compete under a neutral flag," IPC president Andrew Parsons said.
It will be the second Paralympics without a Russian team. The country was also excluded from the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics in 2016. Since then, there has been enough improvement to justify allowing Russians to compete as neutral athletes after extra drug testing, Parsons said.
"Although the [Russian Paralympic Committee] remains suspended they have made significant progress and we have to recognise this," Parsons said. "We now have greater confidence that the anti-doping system in Russia is no longer compromised and corrupted. We have also witnessed behavioural and cultural changes."
The Russians who will be allowed to compete must have undergone extra testing and a course of anti-drug education.
No-one implicated "knowingly or unknowingly by the numerous anti-doping investigations in Russia" can take part, Parsons said.
The team of "Neutral Paralympic Athletes" will be about half the size of the Russian team that competed in Sochi in 2014.
The neutral Paralympic athletes will be allowed to compete in Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, snowboard and curling. They will wear uniforms without any national insignia, and fans will also be barred from waving Russian flags.
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.
The IPC suspended Russia's membership in August 2016 over what then-IPC president Philip Craven called a "medals over morals" culture with endemic cheating.
To be reinstated, Russian officials must either accept or disprove World Anti-Doping Agency investigations which found it ran a doping programme. The IPC also requires the Russian anti-doping agency to be fully reinstated by WADA, which is also demanding Russia accepts the investigations' findings.
The Russian government denies ever supporting any doping programmes.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.