The International Paralympic Committee has banned all Russians from its own Games next month because of the widespread doping culture that it says has polluted sport in the country. Diane Hodges reports.
Four years ago, Russian para-athletes finished second in medals in London. Then two years later, more Russian para-athletes climbed to the top, finishing first at the medal table in Sochi. But now here in Rio, they won't be celebrating at all. The International Paralympic Committee announced a blanket ban on Sunday for all Russian para-athletes over doping concerns. IPC President Sir Philip Craven. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CRAVEN SAYING: "Everything we have observed goes against the very spirit of sport and everything the Paralympic movement stands for. This is why we feel that we had no option but to take this action." The ban comes after a report implicated Russian para-athletes in a widespread state-sponsored doping program. That report also led to Russia's track-and-field athletes and weightlifters being barred from the Rio Games. Craven blamed what he called a broken and corrupt system that stems from the Russian government. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CRAVEN SAYING: "It shows a blatant disregard for the health and well being of athletes and quite simply has no place in Paralympic sport. Their thirst for glory at all costs has severely damaged the integrity and image of all sports and has certainly resulted in a devastating outcome for the Russian Paralympic Committee and para-athletes." Russia immediately announced it would be appealing the decision before the Paralympics start in September.