MOSCOW, November 17. /TASS/. The decision by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to suspend the membership of the Russian Paralympic Committee is ‘ungrounded and biased,’ Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said on Thursday.
"The suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee looks ungrounded and biased," Matytsin said in a statement provided by the Russian Sports Ministry to TASS. "The IPC cites the failure of complying with membership regulations, however, it did not provide any proof."
"The IPC is violating its own principles demonstrating that there is no equality at all," he continued. "We are not ready to agree with the blatant politicization of sports and we will continue fighting against the discrimination of Russian athletes and the RPC," he insisted.
"Paralympians are those people who have managed to overcome all of the hardship in their life, finding their place in sports and making it their profession," Matytsin stated. "We all know full well how much will and hard work is behind their results, yet a decision cannot even be made, which has nothing in common with the spirit of a just and honest competition."
On Wednesday, at an extraordinary general assembly, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee’s (RPC) membership in the organization. Under the IPC’s decision, the RPC forfeits all rights in the organization, except for the right to appeal. If the appeal is turned down, the suspension can only be overturned by the IPC General Assembly. The IPC is expected to hold its next General Assembly in the fourth quarter of 2023.
RPC ongoing spat with IPC
On August 7, 2016, the International Paralympic committee (the IPC) decided to bar the entire Russian team from taking part in the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on August 23, 2016 upheld the IPC’s ruling that came on the heels of a report delivered a month earlier by the WADA Independent Commission, chaired by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren.
Besides collectively punishing the Russian national team by banning it from the Rio Games, the IPC also decided to suspend the RPC’s membership in the international organization.
However, the team of Russian athletes, led by Rozhkov, was allowed to participate in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where it finished in 4th place in the overall medals standings among the rest of the national participants.
Para athletes from Russia also participated in the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang on a neutral status, dubbed as the Neutral Paralympic Athletes (NPA), as the RPC’s membership with the IPC (the International Paralympic Committee) was suspended at that time.
Russia’s so-called ‘neutral’ team of Para athletes brought home a total of 24 medals in PyeongChang, including eight gold, 10 silver and six bronze, ranking second in the overall medal count at the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympics, after the national team of the United States.