Member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva has called as ruthless and cruel the ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to bar Russian athletes from the Rio Paralympics, she told TASS on Tuesday.
“This is unfair and dishonest, ruthless and cruel,” Isinbayeva said.
‘We expected the larger part [of the team] to be admitted but you see what has happened. They have made a horrible decision,” Isinbayeva said.
Russian athletes who are returning to Moscow from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games have morally supported the Paralympians.
Isinbayeva posted the Russian athletes’ video address to the Paralympians in Instagram. “The Paralympians of Russia, you are the best! We are with you!” the Russian athletes who were onboard said in one voice.
“We’re now sitting in the plane and other athletes do not know yet what has happened. We’ll try to support all of them. I personally and we all share, understand and feel the pain and bitterness of each of them. Each of you are our pride and our heroes and you would have won in the team standings as well. We don’t even have any doubts about that. We are with you,” Isinbayeva said, addressing Russian Paralympians.
“I know that any words won’t suffice. Be strong as politics will end while sport will live further. Don’t despair as much as possible. You should walk with your head held proudly high as if you have won because you have been and will be heroes for Russia,” the two-time pole vault champion said.