Violinist Mae has four-year ban annulled

Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:22am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Pop violinist Vanessa Mae has overturned a four-year ban and been cleared of fixing Alpine skiing races but she was still ineligible to compete at the Sochi Winter Olympics, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Friday.

CAS found there was "insufficient evidence" to back last year's suspension imposed by the International Ski Federation (FIS) for manipulating giant slalom races in Slovenia which allowed her to qualify for the Sochi Games at the last minute.

However, CAS said in a statement she "was ineligible to compete" because the qualifying events in Slovenia were "so defective".

Mae, a British citizen, competed for Thailand at the Games in Russia in February last year under her father's surname of Vanakorn, coming a distant last of the 67 finishers in the giant slalom.

"In its decision, the CAS Panel accepted the position of the FIS that a number of irregularities had occurred in the organisation and management of the four races in question," CAS said in a statement.

"(The panel) could not find, to its comfortable satisfaction, evidence of any manipulation by Vanessa Vanakorn herself that justified the guilty finding and the imposition of a four-year ban."

Mae is now eligible to qualify for the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

(Reporting By Michael Hann; editing by Toby Davis)

Vanessa Mae at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach