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Brazil appeals to CAS over marathon attack

October 02, 2004 12:02 IST

Brazil has formally asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to award a gold medal to Vanderlei de Lima, who was attacked by a spectator and pushed off the course while leading the Olympic marathon in August.

The Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) said in a statement on Friday that its president Carlos Arthur Nuzman had presented the documents at the CAS headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, after failing to receive an answer from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

"We're defending the interests of Brazilian sport and of Vanderlei himself," Nuzman said.

"We gave the IAAF a chance to review the decision it made after the marathon. In the face of the silence from the organisation, we had no alternative other than to appeal to the tribunal (CAS)."

The COB said they were asking for two gold medals to be awarded for the race as they did not want the eventual winner Stefano Baldini of Italy to lose his gold.

Rank outsider de Lima was leading the race with around six kilometres to go when he was attacked and pushed off the road and into the crowd by former Irish priest Cornelius Horan.

The attacker, who also interrupted the British Formula One Grand Prix last year by running onto the track, was handed a suspended 12-month jail sentence and a 3,000-euro fine.

The attack cost de Lima 10 to 20 seconds and destroyed his rhythm. Shortly afterward, he was overtaken by Baldini although he still managed to win the bronze medal.

Immediately after the race, de Lima was awarded a special medal named after the founder of the modern Games, Pierre De Coubertin, by the International Olympic Committee in recognition of his "exceptional demonstration of fair play and Olympic values".

The incident has also turned him into a national hero in Brazil.

Meanwhile, the Greek spectator who helped untangle him after he was attacked and sent him back onto the course, has been invited to visit Brazil to meet the athlete and receive a special award.

Brian Homewood
Source:
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