Putin calls ban on Russia's Paralympic team inhumane
Russian President Vladimir Putin attacked the ban on his country from the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics as immoral and inhumane yesterday, while six Russian athletes launched a bid to compete at next month's games as individuals.
Russia was suspended on August 7 over what International Paralympic Committee president Philip Craven called a "medals over morals" culture with evidence of state-sponsored doping. The ban was confirmed Tuesday when the Court of Arbitration of Sport rejected a Russian appeal.
"The decision to disqualify our Paralympians is outside the bounds of law, morality and humanity," Putin said at an award ceremony for Olympic athletes at the Kremlin. He called the ruling against Russia "cynical" and claimed that "it even humiliates those who take such decisions."
The Paralympics start September 7.
Yesterday, six Russian athletes, including three gold medallists, wrote to IPC president Craven asking for a route into the games as individuals.
"I strongly believe that real perpetrators of the dirty system must be punished and banned from sport. I do not want to lose to cheaters and I don't want to compete with cheaters, even Russians," says the letter.
The athletes, who say they have been repeatedly tested outside Russia and found to be clean, asked for the IPC to provide criteria which could allow some Russians to compete if they can show they are clean. The approach is similar to the criteria that allowed U.S.-based Russian long jumper Darya Klishina to compete at the Rio Olympics when the rest of the Russian team was banned.
On Thursday, Putin said special competitions will be organised in Russia for banned Paralympic athletes with winners getting the same prizes they would have had from success in Rio.
Russia was fourth in the medal count with 56 medals, 19 of them gold.