MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. German daily Bild, which for no reason accused Russian Paralympian Mikhalina Lysova of doping abuse, bluntly violated the rights of the athlete and paid the price by losing a libel suit in the district court of Hamburg, Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov told TASS on Friday.
Six-time Paralympic gold champion in cross-country skiing and biathlon for visually impaired Lysova filed a lawsuit with the German court accusing Bild of slander. Several days before the start of the 2018 Paralympics in PyeongChang, the German daily published an article with the headline reading: "Paralympics scandal. Russian doping abuse athlete may travel to PyeongChang."
"Such actions are considered around the globe as a harsh violation of personal rights and freedoms, which are guaranteed by the international law for people with limited abilities," Kolobkov said in an interview with TASS.
"Sport for all athletes with limited abilities is not only an option to do what they like but is also one of the spheres, where people with limited abilities can achieve success and be part of the public life," the minister said. "This is an important aspect of integrating people with limited abilities into the society."
"The decision of the district court of Hamburg confirms that not a single publishing media has the right for slandering the name of an athlete without any proof," Kolobkov said. "Any publication, which comes up with ungrounded accusations, inflict grave damage to the reputation."
"The court’s decision on this case makes it clear to the media that Germany as well as other countries are condemning the discrediting and demeaning statements commentaries in regard to Russian athletes," the sports minister stated.
Kolobkov also said that in the course of the last ten years, Lysova was subjected to numerous doping tests and all of them tested negative for the banned performance enhancing drugs.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) thoroughly studied all details and facts before the 2018 Winter Paralympics in South Korea’s PyeongChang and confirmed that Lysova was completely eligible to participate in the international competition.
A total of 30 Russian Para athletes and six sighted guides, who helped the visually impaired athletes, took part in the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games, hosted by PyeongChang between March 9 and 18.
Russia’s so-called ‘neutral’ team of Para athletes brought home from PyeongChang a total of 24 medals, namely eight gold, 10 silver and six bronze, ranking second in the overall medal count of the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympics, after the United States.