JULY 1 - BRITAIN look set to have a male competitor in the Modern Pentathlon at the Olympics for the first time since 1996 after winning a controversial appeal that has led to a gold medallist being kicked out of the Beijing Games.
The way has been left clear for Nick Woodbridge (pictured) to go to the Olympics after the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitraion for Sport (CAS) today announced they had upheld an appeal from the Modern Pentathlon Association of Great Britain (MPAGB) that Australia's Alex Parygin should not be eligible.
A former gold medallist for his native Kazakhstan in the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, Parygin thought he had qualified for the Beijing Games in the five-discipline sport that includes fencing, pistol shooting, show jumping, swimming and running by winning the Oceania Championships in Tokyo last year.
But there is a 5,100 points required to be scored in a UIPM sanctioned event, which Pargyin failed to achieved in any competitions.
The appeal to CAS was upheld, which means Parygin's place at the Olympics will be taken by the next highest ranked athlete, Britain's Woodbridge, who turns 22 today and was the 2004 world youth champion.
"Our decision to challenge Alexandr Parygin's participation was based on the fact that despite trying, notably at three European competitions in 2008, he failed to achieve the eligibility criteria," British team leader Dominic Mahony said in a statement.
"Our view was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which held that Parygin had not achieved the eligibility requirement, whereas Nick Woodbridge had."
Australia have now been forced to de-select Parygin, who lives in Melbourne.
The the Australian Olympic Committee's (AOC) director of sport Fiona de Jong said: "We are deeply disappointed with this result and we have exhausted all options to try and keep Alex on the 2008 Australian Olympic team."
Parygin is furious with the decision.
He said: "One year ago, (the result was) official, they say I qualified for the Olympic Games.
"I was training slowly, slowly, trying to win a Games medal.'
"I will fight.
"I qualified for the Olympic Games last year, and they are trying to do something with the qualification this year, it's like there are no rules.
"I cannot live like this.''
But CAS said that Parygin has no right of appeal.