Paralympics Ireland welcomes Russia call
Paralympics Ireland (PI) has welcomed the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) decision yesterday to suspend the entire Russian team with immediate effect.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was accused of fudging the issue of Russia's state-sponsored systematic doping by not unilaterally banning the country from the Olympics.
The IOC voted not to throw Russia out, deflecting the decision back on individual sporting federations to decide if the Russian athletes are eligible to take part.
But the IPC has taken a more hard-line stance following the recent McLaren report, which noted that Russian Paralympic athletes were among those systematically doping.
The IPC voted unanimously to bar the entire Russian team from the 2016 Paralympics, which take place in Rio de Janeiro on September 7-18.
"This decision has placed a huge burden upon all our shoulders, but it's a decision we've had to take in the best interest of the Paralympic movement," said IPC president Sir Philip Craven.
"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."
The CEO of Paralympics Ireland, Liam Harbison, welcomed the IPC's move, saying: "This is a huge decision, not only for the integrity of sport in general, but particularly for Paralympic sport.
"Irish Paralympic athletes undergo rigorous anti-doping testing, both in and out of competition through Sport Ireland, and we believe the same rigour should be applied by all national anti-doping organisations.
"The pressure on the IPC to take a different course must have been enormous in light of the recent IOC announcement," Harbison said.
"I commend the IPC governing board for their leadership on this matter, and for clearly demonstrating the independence of the Paralympic movement, and the importance of clean sport to the future integrity and credibility of the Paralympic movement."