Thai officials deny ski scam role

Thai Olympic officials have denied any part in the alleged rigging of results that allowed musician Vanessa-Mae to ski for the country in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

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The Slovenian Ski Association (SZS) on Friday suspended four of its officials for manipulating the skier's qualifying results for the Sochi Olympics and claimed that the fixing was done "at the behest of Thai ski officials".

It said it found no evidence that Vanessa-Mae, a world-famous pop violinist whose father is Thai, was aware of the tampering.

No Thai officials including any members of the Olympic Committee of Thailand (OCT) were involved in the alleged scam, OCT president Yutthasak Sasiprabha said on Saturday.

"Our duty was only to endorse her and send her to compete in the Games," he said, adding that Thailand has no ski association in charge of the sport.

"Because we don't have a skiing sport association, what we did was to look at the documentation and endorse her for the Games," Gen Yutthasak said. "We did not even know the qualifying process."

OCT vice-president Charoen Wattanasin said the problem could stem from an internal conflict within the Slovenian sports organisations.

"I believe it was their internal conflict," he said, adding that Vanessa-Mae's manager contacted the OCT to seek its endorsement after she finished the qualifying events.

"She joined the qualifying events by herself. It had nothing to do with Thai officials," he said.

The violinist competed in the event for Thailand as Vanessa Vanakorn. Vanakorn is the surname of her Thai father.

To earn enough points to be eligible for the Games in February, she had to compete in official races in Sweden, Norway, Slovenia and Switzerland.

She finished a distant last among the 67 racers who completed the two runs in the Olympic giant slalom.

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