Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The 'Unluck' for Irish Sport May Continue

The luck of the Irish appears in somewhat short supply for the quadrennial events that are happening in 2010.

First we had the hand of Gaul which lead to the late goal that denied Ireland from going to Johannesburg for FIFA's World Cup. While the Swedish Referee Martin Hannson who failed to see Thierry Henry palming the ball twice to get it to his team mate William Gallas from that winning 'goal' will be on a South African bound flight.

Now the Irish women's Bobsleigh team who are in Vancouver waiting and expecting to compete in the 2 woman event are now waiting to hear what the IOC decide on their fate. There are twenty women's pairs competing at the Olympics and Ireland duo, Aoife Hoey and Claire Bergin, are ranked 20th in the World, but the Australian team, Astrid Loch-Wilkinson and Cecilia McIntosh, went to the Court of Arbitration in Sport (Cas) to point out that the governing body, International Bobsleigh & Tobogganing Federation (FIBT), failed to properly apply its regional qualification system by omitting a team from Oceania.

Yesterday Cas said FIBT had wrongly applied the criteria by saying that Ireland rather than Australia had qualified. However, they also 'strongly recommended' the inclusion of the Irish bob. That decision however now is in the hands (pardon the pun) of the International Olympic Committee and the local organisers Vanoc.

The Statement from Cas reads:

"The Cas panel found the clear wording of the qualification system implemented by the FIBT reflected the intention of representation by one men's bob team and one women's bob team from non-represented continents and could not be interpreted otherwise than as formulated.

"Accordingly, the application of the AOC (Australian Olympic Committee) was granted and the FIBT was ordered to allocate a continental representation quota place to the AOC for participation of the pilot Astrid Loch-Wilkinson in the two-man women's bob event in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

"Nevertheless, considering the situation of the Irish athletes, who expected legitimately to be entitled to participate in the Olympic Winter Games 2010 after their entry had been validated by the FIBT and the IOC, the Cas Panel has recommended to the IOC and Vanoc the inclusion of a 21st team in the women's bobsleigh event which is scheduled for 23 February 2010."

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