Australia’s Brooklee Han is forced to wait her Olympic spot

Brooklee Han

By Vladislav Luchianov

Last week in Australia was held a national figure skating championship. 18-year-old Brooklee Han has confirmed her domination among Australian ladies by winning her first national title with an overall score of 161.42 points.

Han, who recently secured Australia’s Olympic spot at the2013 Nebelhorn Trophy, excelled in her competition, finishing in first place in both the short and free programs, to win the competition.

“Winning the Australian National Championships was truly a dream come true, especially with the event being held at my home rink Medibank Icehouse in Melbourne! Thank you so much to Ice Skating Victoria and my home club Icehouse Figure Skating Club for all of the support throughout the week and for hosting such an amazing championship!” she wrote on her official Facebook group.

Unfortunately for Brooklee, now she has to await word on whether she will be allowed to represent Australia in Sochi. She is forced to do it despite the fact that Australian ladies skating will have a spot in Olympic Sochi only thanks to her success at Nebelhorn Trophy.

The naming of country’s ladies Olympic figure skating team has been delayed after another Australian skater, Chantelle Kerry, took a dispute over the selection of fellow prospect Brooklee Han to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The dispute is set for hearing not earlier than this week.

Chantelle Kerry believes Han should be ineligible for Olympic Games because she says Han entered Nebelhorn Trophy without approval of the national federation.

I think most of our readers are unlikely to know Chantelle Kerry. She is the last year’s Australian national champion. This season she took part at two Junior Grand Prix stages, in Poland and Estonia, where she finished 8th and 17th respectively. Her official ISU personal best is 123.94 points (at 2013 JGP Latvia).

As for Brooklee Han, this season so far her main successes took place at 2013 Nebelhorn Trophy, where she finished 5th, earning a new personal best score of 147.16 points and at 2013 Volvo Cup Open in Latvia that she won, renewing her personal best to 151.76 points.

Also, at Nebelhorn she posted the third-highest technical element score in ladies Free Skate (51.62 points), higher than those of better-ranked Miki Ando of Japan (48.07) and Ashley Cain of the U.S. (51.51).

An interesting fact is that the Kerry’s complaint appeared in media at the beginning of last week and at the middle of it she withdrew from the national championship citing sickness.

In my November’s interview with Brooklee Han for Icenetwork, answering to a question about the rules of Olympic selection for the Team Australia she said that “The Australian Olympic Committee and Ice Skating Australia policy states that whoever secured the spot at Nebelhorn Trophy gets the Olympic spot.”>

“In theory, this does mean that anyone could have gone to Nebelhorn Trophy to secure the spot. However, another policy stated that whoever had the highest total score from various international events would get to go. As I had the highest total score, I was the skater chosen to go.” she added.

As the author of this article is committed to the sporting principle, it can be concluded that by both the personal achievements (results of competitions; Nebelhorn Trophy in this case) and the remaining sporting criteria (ISU Personal Best), Brooklee Han is undoubtedly earned the right to represent her country in Sochi.

In my opinion, if you think you are stronger than someone else, then you should come to competitions and show it. Unfortunately, in this case it resembles to some strange backstage game. I’m not familiar with the intricacies of the Australian sports system but I hope that the decision on this issue will also be clear for the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

It is a pity that the athletes have to decide something like that in “off the ice territory”, not to mention the fact that such intrigues negatively affect the mental attitude.

Photo: Australian Olympic Team

WFS - An independent online sports magazine