Friday 23 March 2018

CAS reject Irish marathon runner's appeal against the team selection for Rio Olympics

Sergiu Ciobanu
Sergiu Ciobanu Newsdesk Newsdesk

Irish marathon runner Sergiu Ciobanu's appeal against his omission from the Irish Olympic team for Rio has been rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport

Having narrowly missed out on qualification for London 2012, Ciobanu, who has represented Ireland as a marathon and cross country runner at international level, participated in the Athletics Ireland official qualifying process to represent Ireland at the Rio 2016 Games.

The qualification process consisted of three performance windows in which marathon athletes could attempt to achieve the required Olympic Games entry standard qualifying time for nomination by Athletics Ireland to be selected by the Olympic Council of Ireland for Team Ireland.

As part of this process, Sergiu ran the Berlin Marathon in September 2015, finishing as the second fastest Irish male and achieving the required Olympic qualification time.

At the end of the overall qualification process, Sergiu was ranked as the third fastest Irish male marathon runner. However, he was not selected as part of the three marathon runners to represent Ireland in Rio.

Belfast-based runner Paul Pollock was nominated by Athletics Ireland ahead of former Moldovan athlete.

Sergiu initially engaged in the Athletics Ireland internal appeal process to seek clarity on and appeal his exclusion from the team. This process, which did not include an oral hearing, failed to provide Sergiu with reasons for his omission from the team and this lack of clarity led him to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Commenting on the decision, Sergiu Ciobanu stated: “I am very disappointed not to have the opportunity to represent Ireland at the 2016 Olympics, a country I have called home since 2006.   Having run for Ireland in the past, I was hopeful that my recent performances as per the Athletics Ireland qualification guidelines, together with my track record would enable me to run for my country.

"That said, I fully respect the decision of CAS and certainly wish each and every member of the Irish marathon team every success at Rio and have no doubt that they will represent Ireland with pride.  I also look forward to continuing my close relationship with Athletics Ireland over the next four years as I set my sights on Tokyo 2020.

"I took this necessary action to highlight the lack of clarity that I believe currently exists for many Irish athletes, all of whom make great sacrifices to represent their country. I will continue to seek to represent Ireland and I would call on Athletics Ireland to ensure greater transparency and clarity in their qualification requirements to safeguard athletes in the future.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my family and all those who have supported me in my appeal.”

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