Russian President Vladimir Putin says the ban on his country from the Rio Paralympic Games is immoral and inhumane.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld Russia’s ban from the 2016 Paralympic Games after accusations concerning the country’s state-sponsored doping program. The Rio Paralympic Games begin Sept. 7.
“The decision to disqualify our Paralympians is outside the bounds of law, morality and humanity,” Putin said, calling the ruling against Russia “cynical” and claiming that “it even humiliates those who take such decisions.”
The Governing Board of the International Paralympic Committee made its original decision on Aug. 7 for Russia’s exclusion from the Paralympics.
Putin said those athletes that are banned from the Paralympics will have a chance to compete in special organized competitions to be held in Russia. Winners will receive the same prize money they would have if they competed in Rio.
Russia ended up sending only one track and field athlete to Rio 2016 and saw its entire weightlifting team banned from the Games in the aftermath of the doping scandal.
“You came through a tough test with honor,” Putin said. “We know how difficult it was for our athletes in Rio. Ahead of the competition, the team was cut by almost a third, and was deprived of the chance to show what it can do in sports where Russia is traditionally considered one of the favorites. But our team, you, my friends, coped with all the difficulties, competed as a united team.”
– Scooby Axson