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MOSCOW, February 6. /TASS/. The Athletes’ Commission of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) has criticized the decision of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) aimed at barring Russian para athletes from international competitions, the RPC press service said.
Earlier the International Paralympic Committee declined a bid from the RPC to allow Russian athletes to participate in the qualifying rounds for the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games. At the same time, the IPC said that Russia still had a possibility to take part in the Paralympic Games under quotas waived by national paralympic committees or upon bilateral invitation.
During the meeting, athletes emphasized the need to closely cooperate with the IPC in order to continue the work aimed at restoring Russia’s membership. The meeting’s participants also backed the RPC’s decision to continue training athletes for the winter and summer Paralympic Games, implement the membership restoration criteria, develop interaction with international sports federations as well as Russia’s independent public anti-doping commission headed by Vitaly Smirnov, and protect the interests of athletes taking into consideration Russia’s legislation and international laws. Besides, the participants in the Athletes’ Commission’s meeting reiterated that there had never been any state-backed doping system in Russia. Moreover, the athletes stressed that there was no place for doping in sports since doping posed a threat to athletes’ life and health while those using doping violated the principles of fair play.
"The situation has been difficult for all the Russian para athletes, but we should not lose courage," Vice President of the Russian Paralympic Committee Rima Batalova said.
"We need to have patience, unite and try to do our work in the best possible way," she stressed.
"We will use all the possible tools to ensure that our athletes take part in international competitions, including the Paralympic Games in South Korea’s Pyeongchang," she added.
"We would like all our athletes to have a chance to compete and win medals for our country, see Russia’s flag rise in their honor and hear the national anthem of our great country," Batalova said.