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Update: No Russians in Rio, But Paralympians Not Banned from Pyeongchang

(Note: This post has been updated to include details about the IPC’s announcement on Thursday that it will not allow individual Russian athletes to participate at the Rio Paralympics, despite fielding more than 175 individual requests. Also, on Wednesday, the Swiss Federal Tribunal dismissed the Russian Paralympic Committee’s request for provisional measures to allow its athletes to participate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.)

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After much confusion, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) reiterated in a statement earlier this week that Russia is not banned from the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, despite the Russian Paralympic Committee’s declaration that it was.

The IPC stated it was “currently in the process of developing the steps the Russian Paralympic Committee will need to take to meet its membership obligations” and “By rule, the Russian Paralympic Committee’s suspension will be lifted immediately following the Governing Board’s determination that the member is once again able to meet its membership obligations in full,” Insidethegames.biz reported.

The Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) initially posted on its website that its ban from the 2016 Rio Paralympics extended to Pyeongchang 2018.

“The decision taken by the IPC, upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding Russian Paralympians being excluded from the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, has also been extended to include the Winter Games in 2018 in Pyeongchang,” the RPC stated.

That statement appeared to have been altered Tuesday when the IPC clarified that the ban did not include 2018.

In the wake of a nationwide ban from Rio, the RPC confirmed that more than 100 of its athletes, which would have competed there, filed personal appeals. Russia also appealed to the Swiss Federal Court, which on Wednesday dismissed the RPC’s request to allow its athletes to compete in Rio.

The IPC fielded more than 175 letters from Russian Paralympic athletes and announced Thursday in a press release that it would not allow any of them to compete as neutral athletes at the Rio Games, which start Sept. 7.

“The IPC has considerable sympathy for all of the Russian athletes who are now unable to participate in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games,” IPC CEO Xavier Gonzalez said. “Indeed, the main goal of the IPC is to enable Para athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world. Tragically, however, the Russian authorities have denied their athletes this chance through their actions.

“Once the Russian Paralympic Committee demonstrates that it will be able in the future to enforce the IPC Anti-Doping Code vigorously and effectively, without interference, the IPC will be glad to welcome Russian athletes back to international competition,” he added.

Earlier this week, RPC President Vladimir Lukin insisted that the IPC never clarified criteria regarding membership restoration and said his committee wrote to the IPC seeking more information.

“We will be working with the IPC to find out what sort of a road map they are drafting or perhaps have already prepared,” Lukin said.

Unable to compete in Rio, Russia is reportedly organizing its own competition for its Summer Paralympians, set to take placed in Sochi or Crimea. President Vladimir Putin has promised prizes equal to those awarded to Olympians.

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