Australian Alex Parygin knocked off Olympic team
July 2, 2008, 12:00 am TWN
SYDNEY -- Modern pentathlete Alex Parygin said Tuesday it was “unbelievable” he had been dumped from the Australian Olympic team after being ruled ineligible to compete in Beijing because his qualification was inadequate.
The Australian Olympic Committee said while it was “deeply disappointed” he had been ruled out by the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS), the decision was final.
Parygin, 35, won the gold medal in the modern pentathlon — which combines shooting, fencing, swimming, showjumping and running — in Atlanta in 1996 when he was competing for Kazakhstan.
He thought he had qualified for Beijing when he won in the Oceania Championships in Tokyo last year which did not include show jumping because of an outbreak of equine flu.
Parygin lost his place after the Modern Pentathlon Association of Great Britain brought the matter to the CAS, arguing that the event should not have been sanctioned by the sport’s governing body without the equestrian leg.
“I was training slowly, slowly, trying to win a Games medal,” Parygin told the Australian news agency AAP. “It’s difficult to understand at the moment.
“It’s unbelievable... I cannot live like this.”
The Australian Olympic Committee’s director of sport Fiona de Jong said the CAS’s decision was regrettable but would be respected.
“We are deeply disappointed with this result and we have exhausted all options to try and keep Alex on the 2008 Australian Olympic team,” she said.