Russia is blaming politics for a decision to bar its Paralympians from taking part in next month's Rio Games because of a state-sponsored doping program. Nathan Frandino reports.
They've been banned from the upcoming Paralympics over doping allegations, but Russian para-athletes are practicing anyway. Shot putter Alexei Ashapatov says while he's disappointed, he's determined to fight on. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SHOT PUTTER AND DISCUS THROWER, ALEXEI ASHAPATOV, SAYING: "Of course, there is a hope. There is always a hope. That's why we don't give up and lose heart, but work. We will train until the last moment and wait. We hope for a positive outcome." The International Paralympic Committee announced the ban Sunday, after a report by the World Anti Doping Agency found that Russia had covered up doping cases within its paralympic teams. Now Ashapatov and at least 250 others are set to miss the upcoming games, just like scores of their able-bodied countrymen banned from competing in Rio. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SHOT PUTTER AND DISCUS THROWER, ALEXEI ASHAPATOV, SAYING: "Certainly, those guilty ones must be punished. And innocent sports people should not suffer in such a situation, taking into account that for somebody this Paralympics is the first one, for others - maybe the last one." Russian Paralympic Committee President Vladimir Lukin says to bar the entire team would be a grave human rights violation. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR LUKIN, SAYING: "There is no need to say that overwhelming majority of athletes banned from taking part in the Games are absolutely clean sportspeople and that's the case today." President Vladimir Putin has attributed the doping scandal to a political plot, a view widely shared in Russia. Moscow is appealing the decision and challenging the ban in court.