Russian Paralympians ready for additional doping testing, says RPC chief

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MOSCOW, February 8. /TASS/. Russian Paralympians are ready to undergo additional doping testing as it had been required by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Vladimir Lukin, the president of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) 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.

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 added that the “RPC must contribute to the IPC’s significant costs resulting from the increased testing required.”

“Indeed, more attention will be paid in regard to our athletes but we can only welcome this, since we, first of all, are interested in our athletes to be clean,” Lukin said in an interview with TASS.

“We absolutely agree with this formula as the Russian Anti-Doping Agency must abide by the general directions coming from the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA],” the RPC president stated. “RUSADA is operating actively and there are no claims regarding its work.”

IPC President Andrew Parsons told TASS earlier in the day that Russian Para athletes would have to undergo doping tests in the immediate future more “than any other athlete in the world.”

“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.

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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