“Road to Olympics! Congratulations to the first Sri Lankan to qualify for the games! Hopefully the first of many,” the minister said in a twitter message today.
Born in Sri Lanka and adopted by Swedish parents and living in Germany, the showjumping rider had decided to compete for her birth country Sri Lanka.
Karlsson is the first qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games from Sri Lanka as well as the first equestrian representing Sri Lanka in an Olympic Event.
In February last year it was announced that Mathilda Karlsson lost her Olympic qualification as the FEI decided to cancel the obtained Longines Ranking points of the competitions in Villeneuve -Loubet organized at the end of 2019.
Karlsson suddenly didn’t meet the set Olympic target. In their press release the FEI admitted the fault is theirs, as they approved the schedule of the organization.
But after complaints were made, and as fair play is central, the FEI nevertheless decided to cancel the ranking points.
However, it was reported last week that Sri Lanka earned an individual Tokyo 2020 quota place in jumping following a successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
A decision by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) to annul results from its events at Villeneuve-Loubet in France, that concluded in January 2020, has been successfully challenged.
While the CAS accepted that FEI rules had not been followed, it pointed out that this had been the fault of the international governing body for wrongly allowing the competitions involved to go ahead, and cited “human error”.
Consequently, the jumping rankings have been recalculated and there are also changes to the individual quotas for this year’s Olympic Games.
Sri Lanka, thanks to the reinstatement of results achieved by its rider Mathilda Karlsson in France, now has an individual place for Tokyo.
Hong Kong, which had been allocated an individual slot for jumping following the removal of the Villeneuve-Loubet results, is now the first reserve in Group G.
The FEI ruled in February 2020 that it would retrospectively remove six competitions from three jumping events held in Villeneuve-Loubet in December 2019, as well as a further six competitions from three events at the same venue in January 2020.
The FEI said the decision was based on the findings from an investigation launched by the governing body after concerns were raised about the integrity of the competitions.
The investigation established that, contrary to the FEI rules, two competitions counting for the Olympic rankings were added at each of the three December 2019 events after the respective definite entries deadlines.
The updated schedules for these events were submitted by the French Equestrian Federation (FFE) and were mistakenly approved by the FEI.
In approving the appeal, jointly launched by the Sri Lankan National Equestrian Federation, Karlsson and Romania’s Andrea Herck after their appeal to the FEI Tribunal in June 2020 was rejected, the CAS panel ruled that it was not the purpose of Article 112.3 of the FEI General Regulations “to allow the FEI to retroactively rectify mistakes which entirely stem from its own sphere”, referencing the “human error” which resulted in approval of the updated schedules.
-With inputs from agencies