Fiji to challenge CWG suspension in CAS

Fiji was banned from participating in the Games, scheduled October 3 to 14 in New Delhi, after a meeting of the Commonwealth leaders in Trinidad on Monday. The decision was taken after the military government in Fiji failed to restore democracy in the timeline set by the Commonwealth.

Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee head Vidya Lakhan said the Commonwealth Heads' decision was "disappointing".

"We reiterate our position and that is that we see Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting's (CHOGM) stance in this matter as political interference in sports," Lakhan told 'Radio New Zealand'.

"We will now take our case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and this is our last straw. The decision made there will stand and we will all have to abide by it," he added.
Prime Minister Bainimarama's secretary Pio Tikoduadua said the decision to bar the country's athletes from participating in the quadrennial extravaganza was unacceptable.

"We hope that the Commonwealth will reconsider this decision," Tikoduadua said. "They should not mix politics with sports. This is not helping in finding solutions to our problems."

Lakhan said Fiji has a strong case to present at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the proceedings will start in the next two weeks. "I would suggest that they (CHOGM) get into communication with the IOC and learn how sports and politics are separate," he said.

"Politicians are playing their game and of course their intention is to deprive athletes of opportunities. I guess politicians are only good at depriving people of opportunities," he added. Bainimarama staged a military coup in 2006 to grab power in Fiji and the country was suspended from the Commonwealth in September this year after going back on its promise to hold elections by 2010.

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