By Duncan Mackay in Vancouver

February 26 - Brian McKeever (pictured), who had been poised to be the first competitor to take part in both the Winter Olympics and Paralympics, will not compete in the 50 kilometres cross country race on Sunday, Canadian officials announced here tonight.

The 30-year-old suffers from a degenerative eye condition knows as Stargardt's disease, and received worldwide attention when he was named to the Canadian team.

But he has been left off Canada's final team of four, which will instead comprise of Alex Harvey, Ivan Babikov, Devon Kershaw and George Grey.

Under International Ski Federation (FIS) rules, the team can only enter four skiers.

Chris Dornan, a spokesman for the Canadian team, said: "No start for Brian."

McKeever races with his brother Robin as his guide in the Paralympics but competes on his own in able-bodied competition.

The team's coaches have said they would decide who raced based on ability.

Coach Inge Braten said the other four competitors are faster.

He said: "Normally all four are faster than Brian.

"They can fight for a medal, all four of them.

"I have to be professional and I have to choose those guys who are best for the 50km race."

Braten said he had asked the FIS if Canada, being a home country, can enter a fifth competitor, but the plan was blocked.

Sandra Spitz, a spokeswoman for the ISF, said there will be no fifth skier allowed for the Canadian team.

Spitz said: "So far, nothing came to us for a fifth person, and I'm quite sure that nobody will allow a fifth person because that has never happened before."

McKeever has won seven Paralympic medals, including four gold in Turin in 2006.

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