BONN /Germany/, February 8. /TASS/. The story of the Russian Paralympic Committee’s reinstatement with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is not over yet, but Russian Para athletes will be now able to compete under the national flag, IPC President Andrew Parsons told TASS on Friday.
The IPC announced earlier in the day a decision to conditionally lift the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) by March 15, which gives the right for Russian Para athletes to compete at the international tournaments under the national flag after that date. However, the conditional lift of the suspension will be in force until December 31, 2022, which means that the Russian side must strictly abide by a number of special requirements to avoid a recurrence of sanctions.
"I don’t think the story is done because we still have three years and a half when we will be closely monitoring the RPC and the Russian Para athletes differently from other athletes," Parsons said in an interview with TASS. "On December 31, 2022, I hope, will be finally able to say that this is in the past now."
"I just wish that the Russian Para athletes could be seen from now on as any other athlete in the world with the right to compete under their own national flag and, if they win a gold medal, to have the national anthem played," the IPC president stated.
Parsons reiterated that the whole situation with the reinstatement of the RPC would have been much easier if the Russian side had agreed to acknowledge the findings of the McLaren report, which was one of the IPC’s requirements for the membership reinstatement.
"Of course we cannot forget what happened," Parsons said. "We still think that it would have been good - the acknowledgement of the McLaren report, and we have said it before."
"During these additional three and a half years of the close monitoring we will address the concerns raised by Professor McLaren in his report," the IPC chief added.
The IPC suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee in August 2016 in the wake of a report delivered a month earlier by the WADA Independent Commission, chaired by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren. The report stated in particular that Russia allegedly employed a state-sponsored doping system.
On August 7, 2016, the IPC decided to bar the entire Russian team from taking part in the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro. Besides skipping the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Brazil due to the imposed sanctions the Russian Paralympians almost missed the 2018 Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang as only few of them were cleared to participate in the neutral status.