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Russian paralympians put doping scandal back under spotlight

Reporter: Xue Miao 丨 CCTV.com

08-10-2016 11:28 BJT

The head of the International Olympic Committee claims sport is finally taking the limelight off scandal at the Rio games. But the Russian doping furore just won't go away. All of Russia's paralympians have been banned from their games next month. So why were some able-bodied Russian athletes allowed to compete? CCTV's Owen Fairclough reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin inaugurating the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics.

These host athletes utterly dominated, winning 30 gold medals. But now they're paying the price for taking part in a huge state-sponsored doping programme. It covered up the positive tests of 44 para athletes taking banned performance enhancers. Russia won't compete at Rio's paralympics in September.

"I believe the Russian government has catastrophically failed its Para athletes. Their medals over morals mentality disgusts me," said Sir Philip Craven, president of International Paralympic Committee.

Russian para-athletes say the decision is unfair.

A Russian para-athlete Alexi Ashapatov said, "Of course those guilty should be punished and innocent may be their last."

And this ban raises difficult questions for the international Olympic committee. It's up against the ban in favor of letting the ruling body to decide.

That meant Russian weightlifters banned from Rio while nearly 300 other Russian athletes in others disciplines who've passed drugs tests are taking part.

The head of the IOC says it's all about the numbers involved.

President of International Paralympic Committee, Thomas Bach, said, "The IPC has just only one member federation in Russia, this you can compare for instance with the situation in the International Weightlifting Federation where also the IOC accepted and helped and supported the decision to exclude the whole team because you had so many cases."

The Russian Paralympic Committee insists its athletes are clean and plans to appeal through international arbitration.

Vladimir Putin said, "If the Paralympic Committee is being accused, its guilt should be proven. We should not have to prove our innocence."

Officials have until the end of August to appeal before the Paralympics begins on September 7.

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