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Russia's Putin calls ban on Russian Paralympic team "immoral"

Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 01:34

President Vladimir Putin awards Russian athletes who returned from Rio, says ban on National Paralympic team is ''immoral''.

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SHOWS: MOSCOW, RUSSIA (AUGUST 25, 2016) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "Unfortunately, we have witnessed how humanist foundations of sport and Olympism are shamelessly flouted by politics, how questions are solved opportunistically and how such qualities as profit motive and maybe cowardice prevail over the principles of Olympic movement." 2. WHITE FLASH 3. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "The decision to disqualify our Paralympic team is outside the law, outside morality and outside humanity. It is simply cynical to vent one's anger on those for whom sport has become the meaning of their life, on those who by their won example give hope, self-belief to millions of disabled people. You know, I even feel pity for those taking such decisions because they must well understand that it is so demeaning for them." 4. WHITE FLASH 5. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "Yes, of course, we see our mistakes, too. We aspire and will be improving Russian anti- doping structures, and we will do this absolutely transparently by engaging international experts. But without any doubt we don't accept and we can't accept any accusations against our athletes if they are not proven by evidence and facts and we will view this as manipulation." STORY: A ban on Russia's Paralympic team competing in Rio next month is cynical and immoral, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday (August 25), but he said that Moscow acknowledged mistakes it had made in tackling sports doping. Russia's track-and-field team was excluded from the Rio Games that just ended after world anti-doping authorities alleged Moscow ran a state-sponsored sports doping programme. The entire Russian Paralympic team has also been barred over the same doping allegations. At a Kremlin ceremony to welcome home Russian athletes who had competed in the Rio Games, Putin said international anti-doping organisations had singled out Russia for harsh treatment because they were subject to political pressure. Russia's Olympic team finished this month's Games in Rio in fourth place according to the total number of gold medals it won. Putin said the result could have been better if a third of Russian competitors had not been excluded. Putin said the decision to bar Russian athletes, including those who had not tested positive for any banned substances, was a vivid manifestation "of how the humanistic foundations of sport and Olympism are shamelessly flouted by politics". The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Tuesday (August 23) that Russia had lost its appeal against a ban from next month's Rio Paralympics. "The decision to disqualify our Paralympic team is outside the law, outside morality and outside humanity," Putin told Russian Olympians in an emotional speech in a gilded Kremlin hall. "It is simply cynical to vent one's anger on those for whom sport has become the meaning of their life," he said. "I even feel pity for those taking such decisions because they must well understand that it is so demeaning for them." Putin said that Russia acknowledged its mistakes and was striving to improve its anti-doping structures "in the most transparent way". "But we don't accept and we can't accept any accusations against our athletes if they are not proven by evidence and facts and we will view this as manipulation."

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Russia's Putin calls ban on Russian Paralympic team "immoral"

Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 01:34