MOSCOW, July 5. /TASS/. About 500 Para athletes will represent Russia at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, First Vice President of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) Pavel Rozhkov told TASS on Friday.
RPC’s membership in the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) was suspended in August 2016 in the wake of a report delivered a month earlier by the Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), chaired by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren. The report stated in particular that Russia allegedly employed a state-sponsored doping system. Russian Para athletes were barred from international competitions, including the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro. Besides skipping the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Brazil, the Russian Paralympians partly missed the 2018 Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang as only few of them were cleared to participate under the neutral status. On February 8, 2019, the IPC announced its decision to conditionally lift the RPC’s suspension by March 15, which granted the right for Russian Para athletes to compete at international tournaments under the national flag after that date.
"A delegation of about 450 people was to head for the Games in Rio de Janeiro. According to a preliminary estimate, we can say now that a delegation of athletes to the Tokyo Games will include about 500 people," Rozhkov said. "We plan to compete in 19 or 20 out of 22 disciplines. In these three years, our athletes continued training and competing, although domestically. But since our team has always been and still is the strongest in the world, our competitions are the toughest as well."
The Summer Paralympic Games will be held in Tokyo from August 25 to September 6, 2020. A total of 540 sets of medals in 22 different sports will be up for grabs during the Games. As many as 4,400 athletes are expected to take part.