LONDON (Reuters) - Russia risk missing out on the 2018 winter Paralympics if the country’s suspended Paralympic Committee (RPC) does not meet obligations for reinstatement after last year’s ban over doping, the International Paralympic Committee said on Monday.
Russia did not compete in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics with the entire team suspended over the country’s doping scandal that also saw dozens of Russians banned from competing in the Rio Olympics.
Russia’s athletics federation is also still banned while the country’s anti-doping agency remains non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency’s standards.
“Although we are pleased with the progress to date, a number of key criteria still need to be met,” International Olympic Committee President Philip Craven told a news conference.
“At the moment there are a lot of good plans with timelines on paper, but we now need to see plans in action and delivering concrete results. With 291 days to go until...Pyeongchang, there is not a moment to waste.”
He said the IPC would receive an update by its task force on Russia in September.
“If the obligations have not been fully met by then, it will be very difficult for the RPC to have its suspension lifted in time to enter its athletes into the Paralympic Winter Games.”
Craven said Russia would need to restore confidence, while RPC and Russian authorities needed to put measures in place to avoid what was revealed as systematic, state-backed doping in the WADA-commissioned report by Richard McLaren.
He said part of Russia’s obligation was also to offer an official response that would specifically address the findings of the McLaren report.
“The RPC and Russian authorities need to build trust in their actions and prove to us all that from now on sport really is about morals over medals and not the other way round.
“As IPC President I want to get this situation resolved as quickly as possible,” Craven said. “Russia is a great sporting nation and the Paralympic Movement would like to see Russia back competing as soon as it can prove it has met the reinstatement criteria in full.”
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Mark Heinrich