Belarusian athletes carried the Russian flag at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Paralympic Games, along with their national flag, to express solidarity with the Russian team that was banned from the Games by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
The Paralympics opening ceremony kicked off at the Maracana Stadium here on Wednesday. A total of 162 nations will participate in the Games, which are scheduled to run through September 18, reports Sputnik.
Russia was suspended from the Paralympics by IPC in early August. IPC cited the country’s alleged failure to comply with the organisation’s anti-doping rules as the reason behind its decision.
The ban was mainly influenced by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) report on the alleged widespread use of performance enhancing substances by Russian athletes.
The report also mentioned that a list of 35 allegedly disappeared doping samples of Russian Paralympic athletes.
Russia’s National Paralympic Committee subsequently appealed the decision through the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The court rejected Russia’s appeal against the ban on the Russian team’s participation.
Russia appealed against the CAS ruling in the Swiss Federal Supreme Court but that appeal also failed.
Following the failure of the appeal, major Russian broadcasters have decided not to air the 2016 Paralympic Games.