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Belarusian athletes carry Russian flags at Paralympics opening ceremony

September 08, 2016, 4:44 UTC+3 RIO DE JANEIRO

Russian team had been dismissed from the Games amid the doping scandal

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© Bob Martin/ OIS/IOC via AP

RIO DE JANEIRO, September 8. /TASS/. Belarusian Paralympians taking part in the opening ceremony of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro have carried, along with their national flag, the flags of the Russian Federation as a gesture of solidarity with the Russian team barred from the Games amid the doping scandal.

Earlier, President of the Belarusian Paralympic Committee Oleg Shepel told Russia’s Govorit Moskva radio station Belarusian athletes were ready to carry Russian flags at the opening ceremony. Later, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) prohibited to do that.

On August 7, the IPC took a decision to bar the entire 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 in the 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.

In late August, the RPC submitted a motion with the Supreme Federal Court of Switzerland appealing the decision made earlier by the CAS. The motion was eventually rejected by the federal court.

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