Russia’s ban from disabled sports should continue because it is sidestepping allegations of a major doping cover-up, the International Paralympic Committee said on Monday.
Russia was banned from the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics and suspended by the IPC in August after World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren detailed widespread drug use, and cover-ups allegedly involving senior government officials.
However, Russian officials have not “specifically addressed” McLaren’s findings, either by accepting them or “properly rebutting” them, an IPC taskforce working with the Russian Paralympic Committee said in a report published on Monday.
“Unless and until the problems that led to the RPC’s suspension are fully understood and addressed, the IPC taskforce is of the view that there can be no meaningful change in culture,” taskforce chairman Andy Parkinson said in the report.
Parkinson said a “positive working relationship and dialogue has been established” between IPC and Russian officials as they discuss a new drug-testing program for Russian Paralympians, but didn’t say how often those athletes are being tested.
The Winter Paralympics in South Korea is more than a year away, but if Russia’s ban drags on, its athletes risk missing key qualifying events.