Discus athlete loses medal

2008-09-14 15:25
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Beijing - A British discus athlete was stripped of second place on Sunday after Paralympics officials ruled she was not eligible to compete in her category.

Amid the controversy an Australian athlete, who ended up with silver, refused to shake Rebecca Chin's hand and was later reprimanded by team bosses.

The 16-year-old Chin, entered in a cerebral palsy class, finished the women's discus final in the silver medal position but her name was subsequently struck from the scoresheet.

An International Paralympic Committee (IPC) spokesperson said Chin's class and status had been confirmed after her earlier appearance in the shot put competition, in which she finished 10th.

But she added: "In today's (Sunday's) discus event, the athlete showed significantly different skill sets and subsequently the chief classifier lodged a protest under exceptional circumstances. The athlete is found not eligible,not matching the sport class profile."

Chin said: "I did my best and performed as well as I could on the day.Considering the circumstances of my preparation due to the classifications, I'm pleased with how I've conducted myself throughout this process."

Managed to avoid embarrassment

British chef de mission Phil Lane said the incident had highlighted the inexact nature of the classification process.

"We urge the IPC to provide more opportunities to classify athletes outside of major competitions to try and prevent a repeat of this unfortunate outcome," he said.

Games chiefs, however, managed to avoid the embarrassment of having to hold the medals ceremony again, as has happened twice here.

A women's 5 000m wheelchair race had to be held again after the medals were handed out, and in the pool a ceremony had to be held twice following an appeal in a men's 100m breaststroke final.

At the end of the discus competition on Sunday, Australia's Amanda Frasure refused to shake Chin's hand, drawing a swift response from her team.

Although not mentioning Frasure by name, a directive from chef de mission Darren Peters called on all athletes to maintain and uphold good sportsmanship.

The incident is the latest classification issue to hit the Games.

Irish athlete Derek Malone was last week controversially banned from the Games because he was deemed not disabled enough, even though he had already competed in the seven-a-side football tournament.

An Australian athlete, Jessica Gallagher, 22, was told she was not blind enough to compete before the start of the Paralympics.


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