Russian Paralympic athletes banned from competing in Rio are participating in their country’s own version of the Games. Yiming Woo reports.
Russia stages own ‘Paralympic Games’ despite ban
Russia kicks off its own version of the Paralympic Games after its national team was banned from competing in Rio.
The ruling by sport’s highest tribunal was based on findings on the country’s doping programme.
While Paralympic athletes from other countries gather in the Brazilian city, their Russian counterparts will compete in Moscow.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PARALYMPIC ATHLETE, ANTON PROKHOROV, SAYING:
“How can Rio de Janeiro be compared with the Moscow Games? Nonetheless we have been preparing and investing a lot of effort to compete. So, we will show what we can do and we’ll see. Of course, we would like a real competition.”
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PARALYMPIC ATHLETE, IRINA DEVYATOVA, SAYING:
“We have already overcome everything. We don’t have any strong emotions. Of course, we got upset because all the guys were getting ready. Perhaps for some, this Paralympics would be the only one in their lives, so their chance was taken away.”
Russia says the ban was politically motivated and regrets not taking part in what it calls a “great festival of sports”.
A World Anti-Doping Agency report in July said the Russian government and its security service had covered up hundreds of doping cases across Olympic and Paralympic events over the course of many years.