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Russia to hold alternative ‘Paralympics’ for banned athletes

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Russia’s Paralympic Committee head Vladimir Lukin addresses a press conference in Moscow on August 8, 2016 © AFP/File / Yuri Kadobnov

MOSCOW, Russian Federation, Aug 31 – Russia will hold a two-day competition next week for its Paralympic squad banned from Rio, the country’s committee chief said Wednesday, just as the official Games start in Brazil.

“We’re planning to hold on September 7-8 a series of tournaments for the country’s Paralympic athletes at the training bases in the Moscow region,” R-Sport news agency quoted Russia’s Paralympic Committee head Vladimir Lukin as saying.

Russia looks set to miss the Paralympics after the Court of Arbitration for Sport last week dismissed an appeal against a blanket ban over allegations of state-run doping.

The country has appealed to a federal court in Switzerland against the ruling but there appears little hope of overturning the suspension before the start of the Paralympics in Rio on September 7.

Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin lashed out against the ban on the country’s Paralympians, calling the decision “outside the law, morality, humanity”.

Putin pledged that Russia instead would organise competitions for the banned Paralympians “to show all their skills”.

A Kremlin spokesman said Wednesday that it was still to be decided if Putin would attend the event.

Russia’s Olympic squad narrowly escaped a total ban from the Rio Games, but its track-and-field team was suspended over evidence of state-sponsored drug cheating and corruption in the country.

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