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IPC cancels Belarusian Paralympian’s accreditation over Russian flag gesture

Belarusian Paralympic delegation informed the IPC in advance that it intended to carry the Russian flag alongside their own at the opening ceremony, but IPC replied with a refusal

RIO DE JANEIRO, September 8. /TASS/. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has revoked an Olympic accrediatation from a Belarusian Paralympian, who carried a Russian flag during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Games as a gesture of solidarity with the banned Russian Paralympic team, according to the IPC spokesman

"The IPC has cancelled the accreditation of the individual who carried the Russian flag as part of the Belarus delegation in the OC (Opening Ceremony) Rio 2016," IPC spokesman Craig Spence wrote in his Twitter account on Thursday. 

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

Last month, the Belarusian Paralympic delegation informed the IPC that it intended to carry the Russian flag alongside the Belarusian flag at the opening ceremony, but the world’s governing body of Paralympic sports replied with a refusal.

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 (RPC). 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.

The Paralympic Games are held in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro from September 7 to September 18.