Paralympic Games roundup

TWO Russian powerlifters have been handed two-year suspensions after testing positive for human growth hormone at the Paralympics, the International Paralympic Committee have announced.

Nikolay Marfin and Vadim Rakitin tested positive on 23 and 25 August, before the Games began. Both athletes were immediately suspended when the IPC received the result on 4 September.

The pair were fined ¤1,500.

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Toni Pascual, chairperson of the IPC anti-doping committee, said: “This case is a world first as some of the latest testing methods were used which were only introduced prior to London 2012.”

Coe criticises press coverage

LORD Coe yesterday hit out at the English press for “resorting to type” by allowing England’s Friday night football win to bump the Paralympics off Saturday’s back pages. Most papers carried England’s 5-0 victory over Moldova to lead their sports coverage.

It came after a relatively barren Friday for ParalympicsGB, as discus thrower Josie Pearson won Great Britain’s tenth athletics gold of the Games – but the only top medal of the day. Her success came nine years after breaking her neck in a car accident.

Asked how the profile of Paralympic sport could be maintained after the Games, Lord Coe, right, said: “With your [press] help. The future of Paralympic sport in large part lies with you, your editors and the ability of broadcasters to take this beyond the three or four weeks that we’ve witnessed here. The speed with which we resorted to type last night was maybe not a great sign.”

McKillop receives top award

MICHAEL McKillop will have a third gold medal to take home to Ireland with him.

The 22-year-old middle-distance runner, who won the T37 800m and 1500m titles, has been awarded the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award, for athletes who exemplified the best spirit of the Paralympic Games, for his work with schoolchildren.

Kenya’s Mary Nakhumicha Zakayo was given the women’s award.

Festival of Flame revealed

TONIGHT’S Paralympic Games closing ceremony will take on a festival feel – featuring flames, armed forces personnel and a legion of “travellers”, games bosses revealed today.

Organisers partially lifted the veil on the content of the show, dubbed the Festival of Flame, within the Olympic Stadium.

British chart-toppers Coldplay – who were paid £1 for the honour of providing the musical backbone for the ceremony – will play an “unusual setlist” designed to represents the seasons of the year.

But organisers refused to confirm whether American artists Jay-Z and Rihanna would be among those joining Coldplay on stage.