Paralympic officials give Russia one more month

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The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) gave Russia one more month to meet anti-doping mandates to have its suspension lifted to participate in March’s PyeongChang Paralympics.

The IPC was originally expected to rule on Russia’s eligibility for the PyeongChang Winter Games late this month but now will do so at a Jan. 26-28 meeting, according to a press release Wednesday.

An IPC official said there is “a very strong likelihood” that Russia will not meet reinstatement criteria in time if it does not change its “unhelpful and evasive approach.”

Russia has been banned from IPC-sanctioned competition since August 2016 due to its poor anti-doping record. That included a suspension from the Rio Games.

But Russian athletes were allowed to apply to compete in PyeongChang qualifying events as neutrals with the hope that Russia’s ban would later be lifted.

The IPC said Russia must still meet five criteria for reinstatement, down from seven in September.

A key unmet condition is a Russian response to addressing the McLaren Report, a World Anti-Doping Agency-commissioned investigation into Russian doping leading into and during the Sochi Games.

Russian officials have not publicly accepted the 2016 McLaren Report findings of widespread doping by more than 1,000 Russian athletes as fact.

The Russia Paralympic Committee (RPC) requested to remove the criteria stating that it must address the McLaren Report. That request was denied by the IPC Governing Board.

“The RPC is making headway with the IPC on three of the five remaining reinstatement criteria, however sadly, and much to our growing disappointment and frustration, there is a lack of progress regarding an official response from the Russian authorities specifically and adequately addressing the McLaren findings and evidence,” New IPC President¬†Andrew Parsons¬†said. “If the Russian authorities believe his findings and evidence are not credible, then suitable supporting evidence and explanations should be provided to properly rebut them. So far nothing has been forthcoming.”

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