Christel Simms Wins Appeal to Represent Philippines at 2008 Olympic Games

BEIJING, China, August 1. JUST opened yesterday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ad hoc Division hit the ground running.

According to a CAS briefing, one of the first cases heard in emergency session was Christel Simms' appeal to be allowed to represent the Philippines at the 2008 Olympic Games despite dual citizenship within the U.S. as a native Hawaiian.

Here is the original briefing:
"Christel Simms is a swimmer born in Hawaii with double citizenship USA and Philippines. In 2007, she took part in an international swimming event as a US athlete. She has been entered in the Olympic Games 2008 by the Philippines NOC with the authorization of the USOC. However, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) did not authorize her entry due to the fact that she did not have a permanent residence in the Philippines during at least twelve months prior to the event. Christel Simms requests that the FINA decision be overturned by CAS."

Today, CAS released its decision shown in its entirety below:
"The application filed by Ms Christel Simms yesterday has been upheld by the ad hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). According to the CAS decision, estopped from denying the entry of Ms Simms in the 2008 Olympic Games.

The Panel considered that even if Ms Simms did not have a permanent residence in the Philippines during the last 12 months prior to the Olympic Games, she has been officially allowed by FINA, in February 2008, to be entered in the Games by the NOC of Philippines. Later, in March 2008, the swimmer competed for the Philippines in the World Swimming Championship in Manchester. In June 2008, the FINA informed the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association that the change of sport nationality of Ms Simms could not be accepted and that, accordingly, she could not represent the Philippines in any international events, including the Olympic Games 2008.

The CAS Panel has confirmed the validity of the FINA rule regarding the conditions for the change of sports nationality but has considered that FINA was estopped from denying the entry of Christel Simms in the Olympic Games after having granted it without any reservation.

A hearing took place today at 03:00pm at the CAS office in Beijing before a Panel of arbitrators composed of Mr Sharad Rao (Kenya), President, Mr Thomas Lee (Malaysia) and Mr Liu Chi (China)."