ISF world champion Steffi von Siebenthal will not be among the Swiss snowboarders fighting for an Olympic qualifying place in Laax this weekend, after being forced out with a worrying injury.This content was published on December 5, 2001 - 19:09
The 24-year-old rider, who is seen as one of Switzerland's best medal hopes in Salt Lake City, damaged her shoulder during a fall in Ischgl last weekend, and is expected to be out of competition until at least January.
Although that rules von Siebenthal out for both the qualifying events in Laax and Grindelwald, she is not expected to be excluded from the Olympic squad.
Swiss Olympic's qualifying criteria contain a special clause for snowboarders which allows the selectors to nominate a top ten athlete who fails to meet the required standards due to injury.
"I must rest my shoulder now, so that the damaged area can heal as quickly as possible," von Siebenthal said after undergoing an operation in Innsbruck. "My results on the FIS tour this year speak for themselves. Swiss Snowboard and the other women riders will stand behind me, if I am nominated for Salt Lake without formally qualifying."
The four-member Olympic selection committee is expected to make a final decision on von Siebenthal's nomination in the next few days.
swissinfo with agencies
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