Russia’s membership of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) was suspended in November
The Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) has launched a bid to lift the suspension of its membership at international governing body the IPC. RPC president Pavel Rozhkov said his organization was aiming to reverse the “unequal” attitude towards athletes from his country.
The IPC suspended the national committees from Russia and Belarus following a vote at an extraordinary general assembly in Berlin in November.
The international organization accused the RPC and its Belarusian counterpart of an “inability to comply with their membership obligations” amid the conflict in Ukraine.
The membership suspension imposed in November is widely seen as further jeopardizing the chances of Russian and Belarusian para-athletes being cleared for the 2024 Paralympics in Paris.
RPC president Rozhkov confirmed to TASS on Monday that his organization is bidding to have the suspension lifted, at least temporarily while a broader appeal is heard.
“The decision of the IPC General Assembly violates not only the rights [of the RPC], but also the rights of athletes… since it deprives them of the right to participate in all IPC events and clearly indicates an unequal attitude towards [Russian and Belarusian] athletes compared with para-athletes from other countries,” Rozhkov said, according to TASS.
“The RPC has applied to the IPC Appeals Tribunal with a motion to impose interim measures in the form of a suspension of the execution of the decision of the IPC Extraordinary General Assembly, pending consideration of an appeal from the RPC.
“If the decision remains in place pending appeal, the athletes will miss out on the opportunity to compete, resulting in their inability to qualify for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games or other major events, meaning they will miss the entire Paralympic sporting season,” Rozhkov added.
Back in March, para-athletes from Russia and Belarus were banned from appearing at the 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympics, after the IPC made a last-minute reversal of an initial decision to let them compete as neutrals.
The RPC’s current suspension of Russian and Belarusian membership has gone beyond the measures imposed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The IOC has recommended a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes at international competitions, but the respective national Olympic committees of the two countries have retained their memberships.
At an IOC summit in Switzerland earlier this month, the organization agreed to explore Asian-based proposals on a potential pathway back to competition for Russian and Belarusian athletes under neutral status.
The move is seen as a forward step in athletes’ chances of being cleared for qualifying events for the Paris 2024 Olympics.