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Russian lawyer blasts ‘medieval’ efforts by UK Paralympic athletes to fake handicap

September 20, 17:36 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Britain’s BBC reported earlier that some British Paralympic athletes had exaggerated or faked their disabilities on purpose in order to compete in weaker classes

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© EPA/SERGEI CHIRIKOV

MOSCOW, September 20. /TASS/. UK Paralympic athletes faking any handicap violates all ethical norms, sports lawyer Artyom Patsev told TASS.

Britain’s BBC reported earlier that some British Paralympic athletes had exaggerated or faked their disabilities on purpose in order to compete in weaker classes. For example, some athletes underwent operations to shorten their limbs in order to compete with athletes who have no arms or legs. There are cases when an athlete competes in a wheelchair, but is not confined to one and does not use one in daily life in general.

"This is way more unethical than the use of banned substances. I don’t even know what to call this approach," Patsev said. "I completely agree with BBC reporters who call this an abomination. And for what? a medal! We are accused without evidence of fraud among our Paralympians, but here we see an actually proven case."

"This is a totally dreadful approach towards those who are unfortunate. This is some sort of medieval behavior," Patsev continued. "If it happened in Great Britain and [former President of the International Paralympic Committee Philip] Craven failed to see what was happening in his country under his very nose, while weeping crocodile tears, then how he could judge Russian Paralympians, having heard just some unfounded accusations?"

This scandal is a challenge for the new administration of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the lawyer said. "It’s very good that these huge problems have risen to the surface now. Obviously, this is the former administration’s catastrophe, but this is also a test for new IPC President Andrew Parsons and his administration. This is clearly a challenge," Patsev said.

Suspension of Russia’s Paralympic Committee

On July 18, 2016, the independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) headed by Richard McLaren presented a report on the results of an investigation into accusations of doping fraud at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. The WADA executive board recommended the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), International Paralympic Committee and all international sports federations bar Russian athletes from their competitions. On the basis of the report, the IPC also decided to suspend the Russian Paralympic Committee’s (RPC) membership in the organization and did not admit the entire Paralympic national team to the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Earlier in September, the IPC refused to restore the RPC’s membership and prolonged the organization’s suspension, which questioned participation of the Russian national team at the Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang due to be held in March 2018. That said, the IPC allowed the Russian athletes to perform as neutral ones at the qualifying competitions for the 2018 Paralympic Games.

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