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Greece

Greece Bars Top Sailor from Competing for Portugal at Olympics

ATHENS – One of Greece’s top sailors, Vasileia Karachaliou, won’t be allowed to represent Portugal at the 2024 Olympics in Paris, or shift nationality to do so, Greece’s Olympic Committee (HOC) said.

Karachaliou, a world-class sailor and former European champion,  has been disenchanted with HOC and the national sailing federation and competed under the Portuguese flag at this month’s world championships in Texas, according to the race’s official results, said Reuters.

“The (HOC) does not approve the participation of the athletes Vasileia Karachaliou – or any other Greek athlete for that matter – to compete at the Paris Olympics under the flag of another nation,” the HOC said in a statement.

“Whatever differences there are that can be solved through discussions are no reason for a change in nationality,” it said, adding the decision to stop her had been unanimous.

Karachaliou, 26, has complained for years over what she has said is a continuous lack of support and funds to compete internationally, the news agency said of what it called a fractured relationship with the governing boards.

Athletes can switch nationalities but those wanting to do so need a three-year period to have passed since they last represented their former country. This period can be reduced under special circumstances.

Nationality changes also require the approval of the national Olympic committee and the sports’ federation and must then be ratified by the International Olympic Committee, the report noted.

A number of Greek Olympians have openly claimed about a lack of support and funding for their specialities which in some cases has seen them footing the bill to train to represent their country.

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