The whole Russian team is set to banned from the Paralympic Games in Rio after a groundbreaking decision was made by the Games' governing body as a result of the findings in the McLaren report that revealed widespread Russian state-sponsored doping.
'The Guardian' reports that the International Paralympic Committee is set to reveal its decision in a press conference on Sunday.
The brave move would be a step further than the IPC's twin body, the International Olympic Committee, went in its decision before the Olympic Games. The IOC decided to leave it up to the individual sports' governing bodies to decide whether or not to ban Russian athletes from competing-although Russian athletes who have previously tested positive in their careers were banned from participating in the Games.
The IPC is understood to have taken into consideration further evidence from McLaren, and reportedly met with Russian representatives to hear their side of the story before making its decision.
In the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia won three times as many medals as any other country, but the McLaren report exposed the dirty work behind those efforts, the same secret swapping of dirty samples for clean ones having occurred as in the Winter Olympics of that year.
Last month Sir Philip Craven, the IPC President, is quoted as calling the findings of the McLaren report "of serious concern for everyone committed to clean and honest sport."Craven promised then that the IPC would take into consideration McLaren's naming of 35 Paralympic athletes whose samples were swapped, as well as the report's recommendation for 19 Sochi samples to be re-analysed.
This news will come as a welcome revelation to those who criticised the IOC for not having the backbone to ban the entire Russian team from the Olympic Games. But the decision will open up the argument that it is unfair on Russian athletes who might be clean but who are being made to suffer for the sins of their fellow Russians and Russia as a whole and who are being denied the chance to represent their country in a Paralympic Games.
Update: The World Anti-Doping Agency released a statement on 7th August supporting the decision by the IPC. The statement acknowledges "the work conducted by the IPC in gathering more evidence" from the McLaren report, and outlines its agreement with the IPC decision:
WADA supports the decision taken by the IPC, which we believe is in the interest of clean athletes and the clean sport movement. The IPC’s decision follows the WADA Executive Committee’s 18 July recommendation to the IPC that they consider declining entries of athletes by the Russian Paralympic Committee for Rio 2016 as a result of the McLaren Report.