Paralympic Games: US swimmer ruled ineligible for competition
A DOUBLE world record swimmer faces being excluded from the Paralympics after she was ruled as ineligible for competition.
The fate of US swimmer Victoria Arlen remained unclear yesterday after an appeal against the ruling by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) was rejected.
The 17-year-old was found to be “non-eligible” by the IPC after they had received evidence compelling them on Tuesday to assess Arlen, who holds world records in the S6 100 metres and 400m freestyle. She set them at the US trials in June.
Arlen, a former junior state champion, returned to swimming last year after a neurological virus called transverse myelitis affected her spinal cord in 2006 and left her in a vegetative state for two years. She now has to undergo reclassification – a two-stage process with assessment and observation of her in competition – meaning Arlen will for the moment remain as an S6 swimmer.
Arlen is expected to compete tomorrow against Team GB medal hopeful Ellie Simmonds in the heats of the 400m freestyle with the Briton starting the defence of one of the two titles she claimed in Beijing four years ago.
However, if the IPC find against Arlen, she could compete and then find herself excluded.
There was no comment regarding Arlen from the American team, but Charlie Huebner, secretary general of the American delegation, issued a statement expressing disappointment that the US swimming team’s Mallory Weggemann and Justin Zook were reclassified from and S7 to S8 and S9 to S10 respectively.
Craig Spence, the IPC’s director of media and communications, said “a variety of evidence” had been presented to support the re-classification of all three US swimmers.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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