figure skater Cheltzie Lee looks set to get a late call-up to
the Vancouver Games after the Israeli Olympic Committee controversially
refused to nominate their own athlete.
Katz met the International Skating Union's (ISU) standards for
Olympic eligibility but the Israeli Olympic Committee imposed
a tougher benchmark, including finishing in the top 14 at the
recent European Championships.
Katz finished 21st.
As first reserve 16-year-old Lee is now
expected to get the call-up. Lee's coach Kylie Fennell was still
cautious about the Israeli Olympic Committee's announcement,
saying Katz may still have other avenues of appeal.
"Until anything comes through from
the ISU we still stand as first reserve," Fennell said.
"Never assume anything in figure
Any action from Katz will have to happen
swiftly though, Tuesday being the deadline for nominations.
Regardless, the Israeli Olympic Committee
remains steadfast in its decision.
In a statement to AAP it said its qualifying
criteria for the Winter Olympics had been plainly set out two
years ago and it no longer had a policy "just to participate".
"With all the sorrow Tamar Katz and
other athletes who qualified the international criteria won't
be included in this delegation," the statement said.
An Olympic Games berth would be another
upswing in a rollercoaster two years for high school student
Lee - regarded by some as a potential star in the sport.
In December 2007 she was involved in a
car accident on the way to her first training session in Colorado,
sustaining a double stress fracture to her back.
Carrying the injury she finished a disappointing
23rd at the world junior championships in March 2008 but after
limiting her training for the next eight months to fully recover
Lee bounced back spectacularly.
In her first senior competition, against
a full international field, she finished 13th, with Canadian
four-time world champion Kurt Browning seeking Lee out for a
Then things took a dive again, Lee disappointing
at the world championships and subsequent competitions, eventually
leaving her as third reserve for the Winter Olympics.
With further international withdrawals
Lee rose to first reserve, the Katz imbroglio taking her for
another emotional ride.
Meanwhile in other Winter Olympics news
Jenny Owens (ski cross) and Ramone Cooper (moguls) have been
cleared to compete at the Games.
Cooper's was a remarkable turnaround after
tearing his knee cartilage two weeks ago, the Jindabyne-based
skier surprising doctors with the speed of his recovery.
Owens was always confident of getting a start despite ongoing
knee issues but the multiple World Cup medallist will be stretching
things to get on the podium after disrupted campaign.