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Jongewaard moves closer to Olympic dream

By Greg Johnson

Australian's Chris Jongewaard has moved one step closer to achieving his Olympic dream after Cycling Australia's Appeal Tribunal announcing it has upheld his appeal against non-selection today. Jongewaard's appeal over his non-selection for the nation's only elite men's mountain biker position was heard in Melbourne yesterday, with the three-member panel announcing its findings today.

"The Cycling Australia Appeals Tribunal today upheld the appeal of Chris Jongewaard against his non-nomination to the AOC for Australian Team for the Olympic Games in Beijing," announced Cycling Australia. "The Tribunal will therefore, in accordance with the AOC Team Selection By Law, refer the nomination decision back to Cycling Australia for review."

The Cycling Australia Tribunal is expected to release written reasons for it upholding the rider's appeal "as soon as possible". Those reasons will then be considered by the Cycling Australia High Performance Committee, which will meet to consider the Tribunal's findings.

The South Australian is Australia's highest ranked mountain biker, but was left off the Australian Olympic squad when the selection panel announced it couldn't "in good faith nominate" the rider due to a pending court case. Jongewaard is due to answer charges later this year regarding a hit-and-run incident, in which Jongewaard allegedly stuck training partner Matthew Rex, leaving Rex with head injuries and in a medically-induced coma for 12 days.

While the incident took place in February 2007, and Rex has since recovered, court proceedings over the charges have been delayed on numerous occasions. The trial is scheduled to take place in December of this year.

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