Russian doping: Paralympians want cheats thrown out
Two of the world’s most successful Paralympians have called on the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to ban Russia from the Rio Paralympic Games if there is evidence of wide-scale doping.
The IPC announced on Friday that it would open suspension proceedings over the “unimaginable scale of institutionalised doping in Russian sport”, following a damning report into state-run doping at the Sochi Winter Olympics and other major events.
The IPC will make a decision on whether Russia will participate in the week beginning August 1.The Russian track-and-field team is already barred from Rio and the whole Russian Olympic team could also be banned.
Wheelchair racer David Weir, winner of four Paralympic gold medals at the London 2012 Games and one of the most influential competitors in disabled sport, believes the IPC would not be credible if it allows any dirty Russians to compete in Brazil in September.
Speaking in London at the IPC Grand Prix Final, Weir, 37, said: “Everyone is professional now. Don’t think Paralympians are just doing this for fun.
“It is a professional sport. There is money involved. Governing bodies are throwing millions into the sports to get the best out of their athletes.
“They need to react a bit quicker. I want clean sport. I am the most tested Paralympian on the planet. I want equal testing for every athlete.
“You don’t want to think, ‘Is he doping?’ I never thought that years ago but when you see people doing amazing things, you start questioning it.”
Richard Whitehead, a double through-knee congenital amputee runner, decried any Paralympians who believe taking performance-enhancing drugs is the answer.
The 40-year-old, who ran a world record time of 23.03sec in the men’s T42 200m, said: “Whether it’s athletics, whether it’s a whole organisation, we need to set our stall out.”
Training hard was the only answer, he said, not drugs.Just come and spend a year with me and I’ll show you how to train properly.
“For me, if you do take the easy way out, you’re quite weak up here (mentally). Those guys need help.”
The Paralympics take place in Rio from September 7 to 18.
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