Russia has been banned from the 2018 Paralympic Games, officials announced Monday, refusing to lift a ban because of what they called an insufficient recovery from the Russian doping scandal.
Nonetheless, those officials said, certain disabled Russian athletes will have the opportunity to compete at the coming Winter Games — a decision taken with some disagreement among top Paralympics executives, who were unanimous in their decision not to lift the ban.
“What was uncovered was not a minor breach of an obligation,” Andrew Parsons, president of the International Paralympic Committee, said at a news conference in Bonn, Germany on Monday. “This was an orchestrated attack on the integrity of sport.”
Justifying the continued ban, Mr. Parsons pointed to Russian officials’ lacking cooperation with global sports regulators as well as their failure to acknowledge the evidence of systematic cheating laid out nearly two years ago.
Critically, however, he also praised “solid progress” within Russia with respect to antidoping education and drug testing — progress that had inspired confidence in the organization’s ability to distinguish between clean athletes and tainted ones, he said.
The Paralympic decision stands somewhat in contrast to the International Olympic Committee’s ruling on Russia’s participation in the 2018 Winter Games next month in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Unlike their Olympic counterparts, Paralympic officials had not previously allowed Russian athletes to bypass the ban and compete as individuals outside of qualifying events this fall. Olympic officials, who nominally banned Russia last month, have given 169 Russian athletes special clearance to compete when the Olympics begin on Feb. 9. (The Paralympics, the global showcase for disabled athletes, will follow on March 9.)