Atlanta '96 : Kipketer set to lose nationality dispute

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The Independent Online
The world 800 metres champion, Wilson Kipketer, looks set to lose his battle to compete in Atlanta as a long-running dispute over his nationality continues.

The Kenyan, who ran the fastest 800 in 11 seasons at a meeting in France on Wednesday, represented his adopted Denmark at the 1995 World Championships in Sweden under the auspices of the International Amateur Athletic Federation. But he has yet to gain Danish nationality and under Olympic rules must race for Kenya, which he has so far refused to do.

The International Olympic Committee director-general Francois Carrard said on Thursday that the Danish Olympic Committee had asked the IOC to let Kipketer run under the Olympic flag and that the IOC's executive board was expected to discuss the request yesterday.

Carrard said the Danes were comparing Kipketer's case with that of Yugoslav athletes who competed at the Barcelona Games four years ago as "independent Olympic participants" when there were United Nations sanctions against their country. But Carrard said the Yugoslav athletes were victims of political circumstances beyond their control, whereas Kipketer had chosen to change his nationality.

"When an individual is changing circumstances for a number of reasons, personal and so on, the situation is different," Carrard said.

The IOC's juridical commission met on Wednesday to discuss the Danes' request. One of its members, a Swiss IOC member and lawyer, Denis Oswald, said that its recommendation was that Kipketer could race only as a Kenyan.

Brazil's volleyball captain has been ruled out because of a knee injury, denting the team's hopes of a repeat gold medal. Antonio Carlos Gouvea, known by his nickname Carlao, suffered a ruptured knee muscle during training.

The Hungarian tennis player Jozsef Krocsko will miss the Games because he was out of touch on Wednesday when the Hungarian Olympics Committee selected him to replace another player who had withdrawn.

Krocsko was on his way to a tournament in Germany and the HOC was unable to make contact with him before the Thursday's deadline.