Australian figure skating announcement for Sochi 2014 delayed over selection row

Tuesday, 03 December 2013
By Paul Osborne

The naming of the Australian figure skating team for Sochi 2014 has been delayed due to a dispute over the women's spot ©Getty ImagesDecember 3 - Australia's figure skating team will no longer be fully revealed tomorrow following a dispute over the selection of the ladies spot.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) was set to announce the full squad for Sochi 2014 in Melbourne.

But just three members of the team - men's competitor Brendan Kerry and ice dancing couple Danielle O'Brien and Greg Merriman – will now be presented.

The announcement comes after women's single's competitor Chantelle Kerry, Brendan's sister, brought a dispute over the ladies Sochi spot to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Kerry argues that fellow ladies figure skating competitor Brooklee Han should be ineligible for selection to Sochi 2014 because she entered an event without the approval of the national federation.

Han, born in Beverly, Massachusetts in the United States to an Australian father, was the likely candidate to be put forward for the women's event in next year's Games after successfully gaining a quota spot for Australia during an event in Oberstdorf, Germany, earlier this year.

It was Brooklyn Han's fifth place finish at the Nebelhorn Cup in Germany that secured a spot for Australia in the women's figure skating event in Sochi ©Getty ImagesIt was Brooklyn Han's fifth place finish at the Nebelhorn Cup in Germany that secured a spot for Australia in the women's figure skating event in Sochi ©Getty Images



In order for a National Olympic Committee to enter athletes into the figure skating competition at a Winter Games they must first qualify entries by gaining a number of quota spots through performances in the World Championships or a specified event.

It was Han's performance at this tournament, the Nebelhorn Cup in this instance, which gave Australia an entry into the women's figure skating competition at Sochi and, under Ice Skating Australia and AOC policy, the individual who earns the qualification spot is consequently given the chance to compete in the Games.

Despite this, Kerry has brought the dispute to the CAS with the hearing scheduled to take place next week.

It is not the first time Kerry, daughter of 1988 Winter Olympian Monica MacDonald, has appealed against Han.

In August she argued that Hans should not be allowed to attend the Games qualifying event in Germany - the Nebelhorn Cup - although her appeal was unsuccessful.

The pair are set to meet in Australia's National Championships this week although the results there have no bearing on the Sochi 2014 selection process.

Contact the writer of this story at paul.osborne@insidethegames.biz
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