Thailand 'accepts' violinist's 4-year ban

Thailand 'accepts' violinist's 4-year ban

BANGKOK - Thailand's Olympic committee says it will be more careful about endorsing athletes in future after former child prodigy violinist Vanessa-Mae was banned from competitive skiing over her rigged entry into the Winter Olympics.

The 36-year-old music star became Thailand's first female Olympic skier when she competed at the Sochi Games in Russia this year, finishing 67th and last in the giant slalom.

But Vanessa-Mae, born in Singapore to Thai and Chinese parents, was given a four-year ban from all International Skiing Federation (FIS) events over her "manipulated" qualification for the Games on Tuesday.

The FIS said that a hearing panel had established that her qualifying event, held in a blizzard in January in Slovenia, was riddled with irregularities.

A senior member of the National Olympic Committee of Thailand (NOCT), who did not want to be named, said that the skier and the kingdom would "have to accept and comply with the ban".

"This could serve as a lesson for the NOCT to be more careful in its endorsements," said the official of the body, which puts forward names to participate in the Games for the kingdom.

"We endorsed her as our representative because we wanted to participate in the Winter Games, not because we wanted to win."

Britain-based Vanessa-Mae, who has sold millions of albums and who competed under her father's name Vanakorn, was given 21 days to appeal the decision.

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