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Asian games - CAS bars Olympic silver medallist Zabelinskaya after country switch

Asian games - CAS bars Olympic silver medallist Zabelinskaya after country switch
FILE PHOTO: The Olympic rings are reflected on the visor of Russia's Olga Zabelinskaya as she crosses the finish line of the women's cycling individual time trial at the London 2012 Olympic Games August 1, 2012. REUTERS/Paul Hanna   -   Copyright  Paul Hanna(Reuters)
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By Nick Mulvenney

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Olympic silver medallist Olga Zabelinskaya was excluded from the road cycling at the Asian Games on Thursday after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) backed an earlier decision blocking the Russia-born athlete from racing for Uzbekistan.

The 38-year-old, who won a silver for Russia in the Rio time trial two years ago and bronzes in the time trial and road race in London in 2012, had been approved to switch nationalities by the International Cycling Union (UCI) this month.

But Zabelinskaya, who served an 18-month doping ban between her two appearances at the Olympics, fell foul of an Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) rule that athletes must represent a new country for three years before they are allowed to compete at the Asian Games.

Supported by the Uzbekistan Olympic Committee, Zabelinskaya had appealed against the OCA decision to bar her from Friday’s time trial, but the Lausanne-based CAS confirmed the ban.

CAS also declared that a case between Bahraini fighter Ali Monfaradi and the Ju-Jitsu International Federation (JJIF) was beyond their jurisdiction.

Monfaradi, the self-styled “Beast from the Middle East”, had appealed against his ban from the Asian Games for “alleged improper conduct”, a CAS statement said.

JJIF President Panagiotis Theodoropoulos told Reuters Monfaradi had been suspended after withdrawing from an official competition in Poland last year, citing injury, only to then take part in a professional fight.

Theodoropoulos added that the JJIF had lifted a suspension imposed on the Bahraini federation for non-payment of dues and other breaches of the regulations for the duration of the Asian Games to allow the country’s other fighters to compete.

But it decided not to extend the amnesty to Monfaradi because of his transgression last year.

(Editing by Andrei Khalip)

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