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MOSCOW, September 5. /TASS, Yevgeny Ionov/. With less than two days remaining before the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games kick off, the International Paralympics Committee (IPC) guarantees that hosts Rio de Janeiro are completely prepared and Brazil will provide all the necessary accessibility means for participants and guests of the much-anticipated event, according to IPC spokesman Craig Spence.
"Rio has done a lot of work ahead of the Paralympic Games and the city looks and feels ready to stage the Games," IPC spokesman Spence said in an interview with TASS.
Asked whether a level of accessibility in Rio de Janeiro could be compared with the one provided in Russia’s southern resort city of Sochi, which hosted the 2014 Winter Paralympics, Spence said it was complicated to draw parallels since the two cities greatly differ.
"It is very difficult to compare the accessibility in Sochi with Rio, due to the very different natures of both cities," Spence said. "Like with Sochi however, which now acts as a blueprint for accessibility across Russia, we hope the Games here in Rio act as a catalyst for further accessibility improvements once the Games close on 18 September."
The 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro start on September 7, but the event will not see the entire Russian Paralympian team taking part in the competition due to an alleged abuse of performance enhancing drugs.
On August 7, the IPC decided to bar the whole Russian Paralympic team from taking part in the 2016 Summer Paralympics. The ruling came on the heels of a report delivered earlier in the summer by the Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The commission, led by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren, claimed in particular that a total of 35 doping samples were concealed by Russian Paralympic sports between 2012 and 2015. However, it turned out later that not all the stated cases of concealed doping samples concerned the Russian Paralympic Committee. Nevertheless, the IPC decided on collectively punishing the Russian national team.
The RPC filed a lawsuit with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on August 15 in Lausanne against the IPC’s decision, but eight days later, the Swiss-based court ruled to uphold the ban slapped on the whole Russian Paralympic squad.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced last week that Russia would organize alternative competitive events for the barred Russian Paralympic team and the awards for Paralympians would be equal to those promised at the 2016 Rio Games.
Asked whether the IPC had an official remark concerning Russia’s organization alternative competitions for banned Paralympians, organization’s spokesman Spence told TASS that: "The IPC has no view on this stance."
Spence also said that no other international Paralympic committees were currently under the suspicion of being involved in performance enhancing drugs abuse because: "The two independent reports published on behalf of WADA - authored by Dick Pound and Professor McClaren - both covered solely Russia following allegations made by whistleblowers.".