IPC 'frustrated over lack of progress' in reinstating RUSADA
The International Paralympic Committee’s governing board has expressed frustration at a lack of progress over the reinstatement of RUSADA, the Russian anti-doping agency, in the last six months.
In the wake of a board meeting which concluded on Tuesday, Andrew Parsons, the IPC’s president, wrote to Pavel Kolobkov, the Russian sports minister, and Craig Reedie, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s president, urging them to “increase their efforts to resolve the ongoing stalemate.”
The Russian Paralympic Committee remains suspended by the IPC, having met only 23 of the 26 criteria needed for reinstatement, following the major doping scandal that swept Russian sport in recent years. Among the outstanding criteria is the reinstatement of RUSADA, plus adequate responses to the McLaren report into the scandal and reimbursement costs of €257,500 ($301,000) demanded from the RPC by the IPC.
Parsons said: “Since the IPC suspended the RPC in August 2016 a lot of progress has been made and both the RPC and WADA should be applauded for getting the situation to this point. However, the stage we are at now is exactly where we were at six months ago and the IPC is growing increasingly concerned at the ongoing stalemate between RUSADA and WADA.
“In the last two years a lot of positive change has occurred in Russia regarding anti-doping. RUSADA is now functioning well and Russian athletes are amongst the most tested and scrutinised athletes in the world.
“What is stopping the reinstatement however is the lack of a suitable response to the McLaren Report and the stubbornness of Russian authorities to provide access to the Moscow laboratory. This is ultimately preventing the reinstatement of RUSADA by WADA.
“If a solution can be found between RUSADA and WADA, then the only thing preventing the lifting of the RPC suspension is the payment of the IPC’s ongoing reimbursements costs related to the suspension and reinstatement process. We thought this had been resolved earlier this year but sadly no funds have been forthcoming as of yet from the RPC. We hope WADA has positive discussions regarding this matter at its Executive Committee Meeting on 20 September so a pathway forward can be found.”
Meanwhile, the IPC approved 23 sports to go forward to the next stage of assessment for inclusion in the Paris 2024 Paralympic sport programme: the 22 sports that are set to feature on the Tokyo 2020 programme, plus CP football, soccer for athletes with cerebral palsy, or an acquired brain injury.
The IPC said that golf, karate, para dance sport, powerchair football and sailing will not be considered further for inclusion in Paris 2024 “after failing to meet the inclusion criteria in a number of areas.”
Controversially, two sports, seven-a-side soccer and sailing, were culled from the programme after the Rio 2016 games, accounting for 192 athlete slots and four medal events.
The IPC said: “Sports had until 9 July to complete application packs that featured a series of questions that gave the IPC detailed information regarding each sport’s governance, rules and regulations, anti-doping programme compliance and activities, worldwide reach, quadrennial competition programme and procedures to ensure athlete welfare. Classification Code compliance was also assessed and the IPC considered the costs and complexity of operations on the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, in line with Olympic Agenda 2020 and the New Norm.”
The board will make a final decision on the programme for Paris 2024 in January, and will also provide feedback to the five sports that were eliminated from the race.
Parsons said: “I would like to congratulate the 23 sports that have reached the next stage of the process for inclusion in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. At the same time I would like to pass on my commiserations to those sports that will not proceed further. I hope these international federations take on board the feedback we will give them and are assured that the IPC will continue to work with them in the ongoing development of their sports.”
Meanwhile, the IPC said that it also decided not to approve the inclusion of para bobsleigh on the programme of the Beijing 2022 winter Olympics, “after the sport failed to meet one of the minimum requirements laid out by the IPC Governing Board in September 2016.”
The IPC continued: “When the IPC provisionally approved the sport for inclusion it said a minimum of 12 nations from at least three regions should be regularly participating in each of the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons. The sport has fallen short of this requirement.”
Parsons added: “I know there will be a lot of disappointed athletes by this decision, but the truth of the matter is that bobsleigh, despite its ongoing development, has not fulfilled the criteria for inclusion in the Paralympic Winter Games.
“We hope the sport will continue to develop over the coming years so that it is in a stronger position for inclusion in the 2026 Paralympic Winter Games sport programme.”Sportcal