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Sports tribunal rejects Kuwait shooting appeal – IOC slams interference

LAUSANNE: The international sports tribunal yesterday dismissed accusations made by a Kuwaiti challenger when longstanding International Shooting Federation (ISSF) president Olegario Vazquez Rana won reelection in 2014. Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Information Minister and former head of the Asian Shooting Confederation, had alleged “a number of violations” when Mexican Rana won the vote, said a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) statement.

But a CAS panel “was unable to find sufficient evidence that the rule violations alleged by Sheikh Salman took place, and in addition, could not find any indication of how certain alleged failures could have affected, or did affect, the validity of the election.” Rana, an 80-year-old business tycoon and former Olympic competitor, has led the international shooting federation since 1980 and is also a longstanding International Olympic Committee member. Sheikh Salman was an ISSF vice president when he sought to oust Rana in the vote in Dec 2014. Shooting is one of the most popular sports in Kuwait.

Separately, the IOC athletes’ commission has condemned attempts by Kuwaiti authorities to prevent athletes from competing in qualifying events for next year’s Olympics. Kuwait’s national Olympic committee was suspended by the IOC last month for government interference. Claudia Bokel, chair of the IOC athletes’ commission, said the panel learned “with dismay about attempts by the Kuwaiti authorities to prevent athletes from taking part in national and international sporting events, including qualifiers for the Olympic Games” in Rio de Janeiro. She says it was “never the IOC’s intention to penalize the athletes in Kuwait” when it suspended the national committee on Oct 27. Bokel said “we condemn in the strongest terms” any attempt to block athletes from competing. – Agencies

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