Top-ranked SA rider reinstated

SOUTH Africa's Olympic team selection has been thrown into turmoil after the world's top sports court ruled that the country's sole equestrian rider must be replaced.

In a ruling on Saturday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the appeal of Alex Peternell and ordered that Paul Hart, who had already arrived in England for the Games, must be dropped from the Olympic team.

Three-day eventing, which involves dressage, jumping and cross-country, begins on Saturday. Peternell's representatives said: "Under the terms of the court's decision, the original selection of Mr Hart (ranked 442 with five points) is set aside. The only rider that Sascoc can select to compete is Mr Peternell (ranked 164 in the world, with 76 points).

"Sascoc followed the procedure, taking the nomination of Hart from the SA Equestrian Council," said Sascoc CEO Tubby Reddy. "However, the CAS ruling suggested that it is wrong and we accept that (SA's highest-ranked rider) Peternell is due a place in Team SA. We will send the CAS ruling to the (SA equestrian federation), await their submission and they will forward their recommendation to the Sascoc board."

Insiders say there has been upheaval in local equestrian politics and that the management members who recommended that Hart should go to the Olympics have since resigned. On his Facebook page, Peternell sympathised with Hart and said: "This appeal was never about the riders involved, but about ensuring the correct processes are followed."

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