Ireland’s effort to compete in the women's bobsleigh team event at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games has come under threat from a new adversary with the news that Brazil are to challenge the team’s place at the Games.
The South Americans are furious that Aoife Hoey and Claire Bergin secured an Olympic berth despite their late entrance to the qualifying campaign.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport had already recommended that Ireland's two-man team should retain their place after a legal challenge from their Australian counterparts.
CAS will deliberate on the latest controversy on hit the sport on Thursday.
Australia were also permitted to compete on Tuesday after their successful appeal against the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation on the grounds that Oceania should have a mandatory representative under the rules of its qualification system.
An original list of 20 teams has been expanded to 21 and the sport’s governing body is now under pressure to further expand the starting line-up of competitors.
After the Australia ruling a CAS statement read: ‘The ad hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld the application filed by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) which claimed that the International Bobsleigh & Tobogganing Federation (FIBT) did not apply its qualification system for the Olympic Winter Games 2010 properly.
‘The CAS Panel found that the clear wording of the qualification system implemented by the FIBT reflected the intention of representation by one men's bob team and one women's bob team from non-represented continents and could not be interpreted otherwise than as formulated.
‘Accordingly, the application of the AOC was granted and the FIBT was ordered to allocate a continental representation quota place to the AOC for participation of the pilot Astrid Loch-Wilkinson in the 2- man Women's Bob Event in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
‘Nevertheless, considering the situation of the Irish athletes, who expected legitimately to be entitled to participate in the Olympic Winter Games 2010 after their entry had been validated by the FIBT and the IOC, the CAS Panel has recommended to the IOC and VANOC the inclusion of a 21st team in the women's bobsleigh event which is scheduled for 23 February 2010.’
Fiona De Jong, the AOC's director of sport, was delighted by the decision.
‘We are bloody stoked, obviously,’ De Jong said. ‘I had the opportunity to speak to the girls and they squealed for about two minutes and did a happy dance.’