Ward's hopes ended as Cas rejects his appeal
LONDON 2012:EUROPEAN and Irish light heavyweight champion Joe Ward yesterday lost an appeal in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) to compete in London 2012.
The path to the Cas has been well trodden by Irish athletes over the years but Ward must now accept that his ambition to fight in an Olympic Games has perished for another four years.
Ward’s case was taken to London after he was controversially beaten in the Olympic Qualifying event in Turkey earlier this year and was then overlooked for a wild card into the Olympics, which was given to a boxer many places below him in the rankings.
But the appeal, which was heard on Wednesday night in the Grosvenor House Hotel and went on until 1.30am on Thursday, was turned down yesterday evening and he will not compete in this year’s Games. The decisions of Cas are legally binding and there is no other court of appeal.
The Cas statement said: “The Cas Panel ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to deal with the application of Joseph Ward, either as an application under the Cas ad hoc Rules for the Olympic Games or as an appeal under the usual rules of the Cas.
“Furthermore, the Panel has considered that, even if the Cas had jurisdiction to decide the matter, the application would have to be dismissed on the merits too. Indeed, Ward would not have qualified for any open slot had any such slot been made available based on his claim that Bosko Draskovic (boxer selected for the Olympics) was not eligible by the Tripartite Commission (wild card pick).”
Ward was not available for comment. But a spokesman articulated his views. “Joe is very disappointed about the outcome of the Cas on a personal level,” he said. “He would like to thank all of his friends and his family and all of the well-wishers who had encouraging words to say over the last number of weeks. Joe took the course of action on his own without the support of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association or the Olympic Council of Ireland.
“While he is very disappointed he does not want to deflect attention from the other boxers who will be competing in London. That is why he did it quietly and without any media attention. Joe will be sitting down after the Olympic Games with his advisors to consider his options in boxing going forward.”
As Ward exhausted the Cas route, showjumper Denis Lynch appeared to be embarking on it.
The Irish Times last night contacted Lynch’s brother and manager, Shay Lynch , who stated that the showjumper’s lawyers in Germany had filed an appeal earlier in the day to the Cas headquarters in Lausanne as opposed to its Ad Hoc division in London.
The appeal was against Horse Sport Ireland’s withdrawal of Lynch’s nomination to the Olympic Council of Ireland as one of the two riders representing the country in the showjumping competition at the Games.
However, Horse Sport Ireland released a statement last night saying that “Horse Sport Irelands legal counsel had contacted the Cas Ad Hoc division in London, which is set up expressly to hear matters relating to the Olympic Games. The HSI spokesman said that the Cas Ad Hoc division had confirmed that no appeal has been received from Denis Lynch.”
The statement continued: “It is now 17 days since the decision in respect of Denis Lynch was taken and one day before the Olympic Games begin.
“Our focus is on the Olympic Games and on providing the best possible support to our eventing riders who are preparing for their first horse inspection tomorrow.”
Lynch was dropped from Ireland’s team at the 11th hour and replaced by Cian O’Connor. The decision to replace Lynch was taken after his horse Lantinus tested positive for hypersensitivity at the Nations Cup event in Aachen three weeks ago. It was the third time inside a 12-month period that the horse had been disqualified for that reason.