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No Paralympics for Russia

CAS turns down appeal, Russia calls decision 'unlawful'

International Paralympic Committee president Philip Craven.

Russia has lost its appeal against a ban from next month's Rio Paralympics because of a state-sponsored doping programme, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said yesterday.

The decision to exclude Russia's team, initially made on Aug 7 by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), means at least 260 competitors from the country are now set to miss the Sept 7-18 event.

The IPC went further than the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which stopped short of a blanket ban on Russia at this month's Rio Games and instead left the decision to international sports federations.

CAS, sport's highest tribunal, said its panel found the IPC "did not violate any procedural rule in dealing with the disciplinary process" which led to Russia's suspension.


It added the ruling was "proportionate in the circumstances" and that the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) "did not file any evidence contradicting the facts on which the IPC decision was based".

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko called the CAS decision unlawful and politically motivated.

"The decision is not in the legal domain," TASS news agency quoted Mutko as saying.

"It is more political than legal. There was no reason for rejection, but it happened."

"The bodies that are meant to protect Paralympians don't protect them but punish them instead.

"And this is of course sad."

Russia can now appeal to the Swiss Federal Court, although it can only overturn the CAS ruling on the basis of a procedural mistake and not on the merits of the case.

Alexei Karpenko, a lawyer representing the RPC, said an appeal would be considered once CAS had issued its full, reasoned decision.

The whole dispute centres on a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) report that found the Russian government and the FSB security service had, over years, covered up hundreds of doping cases across the majority of Olympic sports and Paralympic events.

Russia had previously said the IPC's decision was politically motivated and would punish dozens of innocent athletes.

Although not widely followed or celebrated in Russia, where rights campaigners say many disabled people are marginalised by regressive social attitudes and inadequate state support, Russian para-athletes are among the best in the world.

Their team topped the medal table at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in the Russian city of Sochi after finishing second, behind China, at London 2012.

The country's exclusion from Rio will hit hard in a country that has long drawn pride and prestige from its history of sporting success.

Following yesterday's verdict, the IPC said Russia had been banned for its inability to fulfil its membership "responsibilities and obligations", particularly the anti-doping code.

"Although we are pleased with the decision, it is not a day for celebration and we have enormous sympathy for the Russian athletes who will now miss out on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games," said IPC president Philip Craven in a statement.

"It is a sad day for the Paralympic Movement, but we hope also a new beginning,"

He added that he wanted the ruling to be a "catalyst for change" in Russia.

The IPC said the 267 places secured by Russian athletes would now be redistributed. - Reuters.

Although we are pleased with the decision, it is not a day for celebration and we have enormous sympathy for the Russian athletes who will now miss out on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

— International Paralympic Committee president Philip Craven

US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte dumped by four major sponsors after 'exaggerated' story

UNDER FIRE: Once a pin-up boy of swimming, Ryan Lochte has faced an avalanche of bad press (above) after lying about being mugged in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympics. 

UNDER FIRE: Once a pin-up boy of swimming, Ryan Lochte (above) has faced an avalanche of bad press after lying about being mugged in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympics. 

US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte lost all four of his major sponsors yesterday, including Speedo USA and Ralph Lauren, following his apology for an "exaggerated" story about being robbed at gunpoint at the Rio Games.

Lochte's version of the incident embarrassed the host city, angered local officials and further revelations about it - casting doubt on Lochte's story - dominated news coverage of South America's first Olympics.

The US Olympic Committee issued an apology on Friday and the 12-time Olympic medallist made his own apology on Sunday in an interview with Brazil's largest broadcaster, Globo TV.

"I wasn't lying to a certain extent," he said. "I over-exaggerated what was happening to me."

Within hours of the Games coming to a close on Monday morning (Singapore time), swimwear maker Speedo USA issued a statement saying it would drop Lochte as one of its endorsers, while luxury retailer Ralph Lauren said it would not be renewing its contract with the swimmer.

Hair removal company Syneron Candela also ended its partnership with Lochte, four months after naming him as its global brand ambassador for one of its products.

Japanese mattress maker Airweave, which last week had said it would stand by the 32-year-old, yesterday said it had decided it would not renew the endorsement, which had been made for the Rio Games.

Sponsorship and endorsement deals typically include "morals clauses" that allow sponsors to terminate deals early if they feel the athlete has behaved poorly in public.


Nottingham, UK-based Speedo's US unit, said it would donate US$50,000 ($67,400) of Lochte's fee to Save The Children, a global charity partner of Speedo.

The swimmer said in an e-mail that he respected Speedo's decision.

"I was immature and I made a stupid mistake," he said in an interview on the Today show.

"I'm human.

"I made a mistake and I definitely learnt from this.

"They (the people of Rio) put on a great Games... And my immature, intoxicated behaviour tarnished that a little."

Ralph Lauren had taken down references to the gold medallist from its website last week, and it said yesterday that it would not renew the Olympic-specific deal - which featured Lochte and other Olympic athletes wearing Ralph Lauren-branded Olympic merchandise.

"We are transitioning out all Olympic visuals as the Games ended yesterday, and we are moving into our fall fashion message," Macy's spokeswoman Holly Thomas said in an e-mail.

Lochte won one gold in Brazil.

He was the breakout star of the 2012 London Olympics, landing a short-lived reality TV series called "What Would Ryan Lochte Do?" and appeared, as himself, on major TV shows such as "30 Rock" and "90210". - Reuters.

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