Banned speedskater Pechstein cleared to race in World Cup
London: The Swiss federal court has granted banned German speedskater Claudia Pechstein the right to compete in a World Cup event this weekend to give her a chance of qualifying for the Vancouver Olympics.
Pechstein, banned for two years after her blood profile showed abnormal values, has been trying to overturn her suspension upheld in November by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in order to compete in her sixth Games.
The court ruled the five-times Olympic gold medallist should be allowed to attempt to qualify for the Games pending a final decision on her appeal. But her participation ultimately rests with the final ruling of the court before the Vancouver Winter Olympics starting in February.
"If Claudia was not allowed to take part (in Salt Lake City) then the Olympics would be dead for her," lawyer Simon Bergmann told reporters. "But if her appeal was successful then she would have suffered irreparable damage."
He said her right to race this weekend did not have any influence over her appeal filed with the Swiss court.
The International Skating Union (ISU), which imposed the two-year ban in July before CAS upheld it last month, said it would comment on the case once the final ruling of the Swiss court was announced.
"As a general policy we are not commenting on cases with the legal process still ongoing, so we have no comment on this decision," an IOC official said.
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