Russia to appeal against Rio ban in court
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[August 27, 2016]
By Dmitriy Rogovitskiy
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will appeal
in the Swiss Federal Court on Monday against the Court of
Arbitration for Sport's (CAS) decision to uphold a blanket ban on
their athletes from competing in next month's Rio Paralympics.
"The appeal has been launched in the Swiss court," the Interfax news
agency quoted Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) president Vladimir
Lukin as saying on Friday.
Earlier this week the Lausanne-based CAS, sport's highest tribunal,
rejected an RPC appeal against the suspension that was handed out by
the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) because of a
state-sponsored sports doping program.
The Federal Court can only overturn the CAS ruling on the basis of a
procedural mistake and not on the merits of the case.
The decision to exclude Russia's team means at least 260 competitors
from the country are now set to miss the Sept. 7-18 Paralympics.
The IPC went further than the International Olympic Committee (IOC),
which stopped short of a blanket ban on Russia at the Rio Olympics
that ended on Sunday and left the decision instead in the hands of
international sports federations.
On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Paralympic
ban cynical and immoral but also said Moscow acknowledged mistakes
it had made in tackling sports doping.
The country's track and field team were also excluded from the
Olympics due to the sports doping program.
Putin said the decision to bar Russian athletes, including those who
had not tested positive for any banned substances, was a vivid
manifestation "of how the humanistic foundations of sport and
Olympism are shamelessly flouted by politics".
"The decision to disqualify our Paralympic team is outside the law,
outside morality and outside humanity," he added.
"It is simply cynical to vent one's anger on those for whom sport
has become the meaning of their life ... I even feel pity for those
taking such decisions because they must well understand that it is
so demeaning for them."
[to top of second column]
Vladimir Lukin, president of the Russian Paralympic Committee,
attends a news conference after Russia was barred on August 7, 2016
from taking part in next month's Rio Paralympics, in Moscow, Russia,
August 8, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev
The whole dispute centers on a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
report that found the Russian government and the FSB security
service had, over years, covered up hundreds of doping cases across
the majority of Olympic sports and Paralympic events.
Although not widely followed or celebrated in Russia, where rights
campaigners say many disabled people are marginalized by regressive
social attitudes and inadequate state support, the country's para-athletes
are some of the best in the world.
Their team topped the medal table at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in
the Russian city of Sochi after taking second place behind China at
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)
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