Appel seeks study flexibility for athletes
Hong Kong coach Rene Appel wants more flexibility for university athletes after Chan Hei-man's appeal against an ineligibility ruling for the World University Games was rejected.
Chan, 20, enrolled in a full-time degree course at the University of Hong Kong last year, but will miss the Games in Shenzhen next month after failing to prove her student status.
Chan, who won a silver medal in the women's mistral class at the Guangzhou Asian Games last November, asked for a suspension of her studies from the second semester to focus on the qualifiers for next year's London Olympic Games.
She failed to produce an academic transcript of the latest semester to the University Sports Federation of Hong Kong last month to prove her student status. Her appeal was rejected last weekend.
'We do not have too many athletes who are able to study at university and at the same time maintain a good level of sporting performance,' Appel said.
'To our understanding, if she has been admitted to university for a full-time course she is eligible to take part in the World University Games.
'Even if she has taken leave to prepare for the Olympic Games, she is still a student. In fact, it is not unusual in many parts of the world for athletes to take 10 years to finish a degree course.
We need to give flexibility to athletes so they can work on both ends, even if it is for a longer period as we all agree a degree will be important to their life after sport.'
Appel also was disappointed the authority added the new criteria only two months before the Games.
'We scheduled a number of races for her when we submitted her entry in January. But it was not until June that her entry was rejected,' he said.