The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Tuesday morning upheld Russia’s ban from the upcoming Paralympic Games in Rio. The sanction, handed down by the International Paralympic Committee in early August, came about after a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation found evidence of a state-sponsored doping program in Russia from 2011 to 2015, with the IPC saying via the Associated Press that it had found evidence of manipulated doping tests relating to 44 Russian athletes, including 27 from competitors in eight sports that are part of the Paralympic program.
The Russian Paralympic Committee appealed the ban, but the CAS said Tuesday that the IPC “did not violate any procedural rule” in handing down the punishment.
“[The] decision to ban the [Russian team] was made in accordance with the IPC Rules and was proportionate in the circumstances,” the court said in a statement obtained by the AP.
IPC President Philip Craven issued a statement applauding the CAS ruling:
“Today’s decision underlines our strong belief that doping has absolutely no place in Paralympic sport, and further improves our ability to ensure fair competition and a level playing field for all Para athletes around the world.
“Although we are pleased with the decision, it is not a day for celebration and we have enormous sympathy for the Russian athletes who will now miss out on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. It is a sad day for the Paralympic Movement, but we hope also a new beginning. We hope this decision acts as a catalyst for change in Russia and we can welcome the Russian Paralympic Committee back as a member safe in the knowledge that it is fulfilling its obligations to ensure fair competition for all.”
The International Olympic Committee had similar evidence of a state-sponsored Russian doping program in its hands ahead of the main Rio Olympics, but it decided to leave the country’s participation up to each sport’s governing body. Russian weightlifters and all but one track and field athlete were prohibited from competing in the Olympics.
This year’s Paralympic Games are Sept. 7-18.