IPC chief: Russian Para athletes to be tested for doping ‘more than any other athlete’

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BONN /Germany/, February 8. /TASS/. Russian Para athletes will have to undergo doping tests in the immediate future more ‘than any other athlete in the world,’ President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Andrew Parsons told TASS on Friday.

The IPC announced earlier in the day a decision to conditionally lift the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) by March 15, which gives the right for Russian Para athletes to compete at the international tournaments under the national flag after that date. However, the conditional lift of the suspension will be in force until December 31, 2022, which means that the Russian side must strictly abide by a number of special requirements to avoid a recurrence of sanctions.

Asked by a TASS correspondent how often Russian Para athletes would have to undergo doping testing, Parsons said “I can only say that very often.”

“This is the thing that we are still coming up with the plan on,” he said. “I think it will be fair to speak with the RPC first and then with the media.”

Announcing the conditional lift of the suspension on Friday, the IPC stated that it would grant permissions to Russian athletes to participate in the 2020 and 2022 Paralympics under the condition that they undergo frequent doping tests.

The IPC also stated that “The RPC must contribute to the IPC’s significant costs resulting from the increased testing required in relation to Russian athletes under the IPC’s jurisdiction until 31 December 2022.”

Parsons said commenting on a possible amount of the Russian side’s contribution that “Until the 15th of March we will provide the RPC with details on the amount.”

“Yes, there will be a cost of additional testing and as I have said we will be still in a three and a half years testing them more than any other athlete in the world so we need a contribution from the RPC to pay for those expenses,” the IPC president stated.

Parsons also said it was possible that doping officials from the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) might be involved in testing, but this issue still had to be agreed upon.

“We are still discussing it, but I think it will be probably a combination of RUSADA and some external agencies,” he said. “However, I am just speculating now because we need to come up with that, discuss with the RPC, come to an agreement, so that we can move forward on the 15th of March.”

The IPC suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee in August 2016 in the wake of a report delivered a month earlier by the WADA Independent Commission, chaired by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren. The report stated in particular that Russia allegedly employed a state-sponsored doping system.

On August 7, 2016, the IPC decided to bar the entire Russian team from taking part in the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro. Besides skipping the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Brazil due to the imposed sanctions the Russian Paralympians partly missed the 2018 Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang as only few of them were cleared to participate under the neutral status.

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