MOSCOW: The International Paralympic Committee’s decision to ban Russia from the Paralympic Games in Rio over state-run doping was “beyond belief”, Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko said on Sunday.
“In my view, this is beyond belief,” Mutko told Interfax news agency.
“It’s an unprecedented decision. I don’t understand what it’s based on,” he said to R-Sport news agency, promising “full support” for the Russian Paralympic Committee.
IPC president Philip Craven announced Russia’s suspension from the body on Sunday following doping revelations in an inquiry last month, ruling the country out of the September 7-18 event.
The IPC said its decision was unanimous and there were immediate statements of support from member bodies, including the British Paralympic Association.
However Mutko, who has been barred from the Rio Olympics because of the McLaren report, said that an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport would be made over the IPC ruling.
Vladimir Lukin, head of the Russian Paralympic Committee, confirmed the organisation’s intentions to open legal proceedings.
“We are going to react in a judicial manner, we are going to pursue the International Paralympic Committee in the CAS,” Lukin told Interfax.
“If they accuse us of something, they should formulate the accusations in a clear and concrete manner. We can’t exclude someone because he’s part of some system, we can only exclude someone if he is guilty of something.”
Russia has 21 days to lodge an appeal, while the Paralympics start in one month.