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Lashko to appeal through CAS for Games spot

7 March 2006

Four-time Olympian Irina Lashko has launched an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to get a spot in the Commonwealth Games diving team.

The 33-year-old Russian-born diver lost an appeal to Diving Australia late last month for inclusion in the 12-member squad.

Lashko was overlooked after she only managed a second-placing in the 1m springboard event at the Games trials in Melbourne, beaten by Brisbane teenager Sharleen Stratton.

Diving Australia rules stipulate that only a first placing in the non-Olympic event will make the team. Lashko has until the end of the week to present her statement to CAS before a hearing date is set.

The Australian diving team enters its pre-meet camp at Brisbane next Monday and high performance manager Brendan Purcell admits the situation is a distraction. "We got notification on Friday from Irina in a personal letter saying she was going to CAS," said Purcell. "Obviously considering the time line I'm assuming she will get that started as soon as possible.

"We go into camp on Monday so it is not ideal for us. "Obviously it is her right to appeal if she feels the need to, but that is why we had a three-step process in place so we would not have to go down the track to CAS."

Lashko's appeal relies on the belief Diving Australia can use its discretion to put her on the team. "My past results clearly speak for themselves and should be taken into consideration," she wrote in a reply to Purcell's appeal rejection letter last month.

"I have won this event twice now and I am the only individual gold medallist in this event at world championship level for Australia.

"I trust you will take all this into consideration and find a place in the team for me as I am confident of succeeding."

Lashko had originally decided to retire after the Athens Olympics in 2004, but after a seven-month break returned to the gruelling training schedule in order to compete in front of her adopted home town at the Commonwealth Games. The 1m event was the only event she attempted at the trials earlier this month.

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