Mae given four-year ban from skiing


Published: Tuesday 11th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Vanessa Mae has been given a four-year ban by the International Ski Federation for taking part in races which were fixed to help her qualify for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

The governing body said its hearing panel found “to its comfortable satisfaction” that the results of a series of races in Slovenia in January were manipulated in order for Mae to achieve the qualifying points required to compete at the Games.

Representing Thailand and competing under the name Vanessa Vanakorn, the classical violinist took part in the women’s giant-slalom in Sochi and finished last out of the 67 competitors.

An FIS statement read: “After considering written submissions and testimony at a hearing on 3rd October 2014, the Hearing Panel found to its comfortable satisfaction that the results of the four ladies giant slalom races that took place on 18th and 19th January 18 2014 at Krvavec (SLO) were manipulated, resulting in the calculation of FIS Points that do not reflect the true performance of the competitors that participated in those events and in particular the points awarded to Vanessa Vanakorn (Mae).”

FIS found the races in Slovenia were organised at the request of Mae’s management company and the Thailand Olympic Committee in order to enable her to meet the qualifying criteria.

In July, the Slovenian Ski Association suspended four of its officials and announced an investigation into alleged improprieties regarding the results of the races concerned.

FIS upheld the Slovenians’ findings, revealing that the results lists of two giant-slalom races which took place on January 19 included the name of a competitor who was not present.

Another competitor was placed second in one race despite falling, and her finishing time is understood to have been adjusted by over 10 seconds.

Among a number of other discrepancies, FIS found that the weather conditions were so bad that the races concerned would in usual circumstances have been cancelled.

Ranking points accrued by all competitors in the respective races have been annulled. FIS confirmed that without the points in question, Mae would not have been eligible to compete in Sochi.

Published: Tuesday 11th November 2014 by The News Editor

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