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Russian athletes fail to meet 2018 Paralympics qualifiers deadline

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Moscow, Oct 18 (IANS) Russian Paralympic skiers and biathlon racers skipped the deadline to apply for the upcoming international tournaments, which also serve as the qualifiers for the 2018 Winter Paralympics, the head coach of the skiing and biathlon team Irina Gromova has said.

Gromova said she repeatedly warned that they would not meet the deadline, reports Tass.

"We have failed to submit applications by the requested deadline and it is hard for me to say what is coming next," she said on Monday.

"However, we still understand that if the International Paralympic Committee would like to issue clearance for us, it can do it within a week before the starts (of competitions)."

Russian Paralympic Committee's First Vice President Pavel Rozhkov said in late September that the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) kept providing them with very vague requirements regarding the membership reinstatement, while the deadline for Russia to apply for qualifying tournaments ahead of the 2018 Paralympics in South Korea was about to expire.

On August 7, the IPC decided to bar the whole Russian Paralympic team from taking part in the 2016 Summer Paralympics. The ruling came on the heels of a report delivered earlier in the summer by the Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The commission, led by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren, claimed in particular that a total of 35 doping samples were concealed by Russian Paralympic sports between 2012 and 2015.

However, it turned out later that not all the stated cases of concealed doping samples concerned the Russian Paralympic Committee. Nevertheless, the IPC decided on collectively punishing the Russian national team.

In early September, IPC spokesman Craig Spence said that the international committee was working to define criteria for Russia on reinstating its membership in the global organisation.

--IANS

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