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IPC outlines road to reform for Russia, IOC sanctions more London 2012 medallists

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) today (Monday) outlined the reinstatement criteria the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) must meet in order to have its suspension lifted, as three Russian athletes were among seven stripped of their medals from the 2012 Olympic Games following retests of their doping samples.

Developed in consultation with the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), the IPC said the reinstatement criteria identify the core, high-level requirements the RPC must meet in order to be reinstated as a member.

Supporting the reinstatement criteria are the underlying verification criteria, which set out certain specific matters that need to be rectified by the RPC. To assist with the reinstatement process, the IPC said it will appoint a taskforce that will work with the RPC and assist the IPC in determining whether the reinstatement criteria and underlying verification criteria have been met. The taskforce will comprise five individuals, including an independent chairperson, and will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Russia was forced to miss the 2016 summer Paralympic Games after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in August upheld the IPC’s decision to ban the nation’s athletes from the event. Russia, which escaped a blanket ban from the Olympics, was barred from the Paralympics on August 7 after IPC president Philip Craven said that the country had prioritised “medals over morals.”

Following revelations related to an alleged state-sponsored doping system in Russia, the IPC Governing Board elected to suspend the RPC from IPC membership citing its inability to fulfil its responsibilities and obligations to comply with the IPC Anti-doping Code and the World Anti-doping Code.

The IPC today outlined three key reinstatement criteria that the RPC must meet, and continue to meet going forward. They require that the RPC demonstrate it is compliant with all the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Program and the IPC Anti-Doping Code that are applicable to a National Paralympic Committee.

Secondly, that the RPC, IPC, International Federations (IFs) and Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada), once declared Code-compliant again, are all able to carry out their respective anti-doping activities in Russia and in relation to Russia para athletes and athlete support personnel effectively and without external interference.

Finally, that the participation in IPC-sanctioned competitions of para athletes and athlete support personnel under the RPC’s jurisdiction will not jeopardise the integrity of those competitions. Craven said: “Although there is no timeline for the RPC to implement the changes required, we want to work closely with them in order to bring about the necessary changes sooner, rather than later.

“The RPC is an important part of the Paralympic Movement and its athletes want to be competing against the world’s best athletes on the international stage.  With the RPC’s full co-operation and transparency, we will immediately lift its suspension once we are confident that all reinstatement criteria and verification criteria have been, and will continue to be, met in full.”

In other news, the IOC today sanctioned a further seven medallists from London 2012 following the wave of retesting of samples from the English capital’s Games and the 2008 event in Beijing. Twelve athletes have been disqualified in total from London 2012.

The headline name is Russia’s Yuliya Zaripova, who won gold in the women’s 3000m steeplechase event. Zaripova had already been stripped of her medal after being initially sanctioned in January 2015 due to anomalies in her athlete biological passport. The IOC today said re-analysis of Zaripova’s samples from London 2012 resulted in a positive test for the prohibited substance dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (turinabol).

The other six medallists are all from weightlifting competitions. Russian silver medallists Alexandr Ivanov and Nataliya Zabolotnaya have both been sanctioned, along with bronze medallists Cristina Iovu (Moldova), Hripsime Khurshudyan (Armenia), Iryna Kulesha (Belarus) and Anatoli Ciricu (Moldova).