Aust figure skating Olympic berth appeal

Glenn Cullen
Brooklee Han's Australia's women's figure skating spot for the Winter Olympics will be disputed.

Official selection of one of the first athletes for Australia's Winter Olympics team is on ice with a dispute over the women's figure skating spot set for a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing next week.

The Australian Olympic Committee was expected to announce all of its figure skating positions on Wednesday in Melbourne but will now only present men's competitor Brendan Kerry and ice dancing couple Danielle O'Brien and Greg Merriman as the first athletes confirmed for the Sochi Games in February.

Chantelle Kerry, Brendan's sister and fellow figure skating hopeful, will argue that Brooklee Han should be ineligible for Sochi because she entered an event without the approval of the national federation.

Han was born and raised in the US but qualifies for Australia through her father.

It's not the first time Kerry, daughter of 1988 Winter Olympian Monica MacDonald, has taken issue over Han.

In August she was unsuccessful at another appeals tribunal in which she argued that Han should not be allowed to attend a Games qualifying event in Germany, a meet which ultimately earned the Connecticut-based skater a spot for the Winter Olympics.

The pair are scheduled to compete at Australia's national championships this week, an event which has no bearing on Games selections.

Figure skating has had its share of selection issues in the lead-up to previous Olympics.

Miriam Manzano failed in a bid to overturn Joanne Carter's inclusion at the 2006 Games while in 2010 Cheltzie Lee became a last minute qualifier for Australia when an Israeli athlete was controversially excluded because of that country's stringent qualifying criteria.

Australia has had mixed success with winter athletes who've been raised overseas or changed nationalities to compete for their adopted country.

Gifted junior moguls skier Dale Begg-Smith blossomed in Australia, winning gold and silver Olympic medals over two Games after defecting from Canada.

But short track speed skater Tatiana Borodulina, who had her citizenship expedited to make the 2010 Games team, returned to Russia after a failed campaign in Vancouver and will turn out for the host nation in Sochi.