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Kremlin says act of Belarusian Paralympians with Russian flag in Rio deserves admiration

Earlire the vice president of the Russian Paralympic Committee proposed that Russia should award the Belarusian Paralympian who carried the Russian flag with the Order of Friendship
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, September 8. /TASS/. The Belarusian national Paralympic team act in Brazil, where they carried a Russian national flag along with their flag at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Paralympics, was "the act deserving admiration," Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thur.

President of the Belarusian Paralympic Committee Oleg Shepel earlier said that the gesture at the opening ceremony at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro was to express solidarity with the entire Russian Paralympic team, which was barred by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) from taking part in the 2016 Rio Games.

"This was definitely a deed," Peskov told journalists. "The act of the Paralympians from Belarus deserves admiration."

"We highly evaluate such manifestation of solidarity with our Paralympians, who had been undeservedly and unfairly deprived of the possibility to participate in the Paralympics," Peskov said. "It simply deserves the highest appraisal from the stance of humanity."

Rima Batalova, the vice president of the Russian Paralympic Committee, earlier proposed that Russia should award the Belarusian Paralympian, who carried the Russian flag, with the Order of Friendship.

Commenting on Batalova’s proposal, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said "if this is what the [RPC] vice president believes we should do, then she has all rights to put forward such initiative."

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 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.

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.

The alternative competitions for the banned Russian Paralympians are held on September 8 and 9 at the sports facilities in the Moscow Region. A total of 263 athletes are taking part in the tournament, competing in 18 sports.