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7 Mar, 2022 09:49

Russian Paralympians ‘treated like a pig’ – ski champ

The Olympic champion issued a stinging verdict on the decision by chiefs to ban Russians from competing
Russian Paralympians ‘treated like a pig’ – ski champ

Newly-crowned ski World Cup title holder Natalia Nepryaeva has savaged the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) decision to backtrack on allowing Russians to compete under a neutral banner at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games.

The Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights is challenging the ruling and has appealed to the UN after Paralympic chiefs barred Russians and Belarusians from competing at the Games, which began on Thursday and continue until March 13, as a consequence of the Ukraine offensive.

The 72-person Russian party heading for the Games found out they would not be welcome the day before the event started.

IPC President Andrew Parsons said the verdict was in the interests of the "long-term health and survival" of the Paralympic movement when it was announced last week.

Russian sports minister Oleg Matytsin called the ban a violation of athletes' rights and the Olympic charter.

Nepryaeva has since won the big crystal globe at the ski World Cup – triumphing despite being blocked from competing at an event in Norway because Russian athletes have also been frozen out by the International Ski Federation.

The 26-year-old had already amassed enough points to ensure her rivals could not catch her following their results at the event.

“I wouldn’t want to represent myself in such a situation," the team relay champion during the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing in February told RIA.

"No words of support will help here. They were treated like a pig. I don’t even want to comment on it – it’s just disgusting."

The exile of Russian athletes from the Paralympics is one of many examples of sportspeople from the country being barred by sporting organizations, although few stars and teams have learned of their fate at such short notice.

Russian football teams are not currently able to play in competitions organized by governing bodies FIFA and UEFA.

The Russian Football Union is contesting the decisions at the Court of Arbitration for Sport ahead of a scheduled Qatar 2022 World Cup playoff match for Russia on March 24.

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