Saturday, December 4

FIS rules can stop the big talent’s World Cup debut: – Discriminatory

Combined manager Ivar Stuan wants to take 19-year-old Mille Marie Hagen to the World Cup, but claims FIS will refuse her to participate. He reacts strongly to this.

DISAPPOINTED: Sports director Ivar Stuan makes no secret of the fact that he is very disappointed that FIS will not grant a dispensation to the combined talent Mille Marie Hagen.

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– For me, it is both discriminatory and not very forward-looking for combined women that such good athletes are refused to compete. I think it’s sad for the sport and herself, says Ivar Stuan.

The combined sports director has recently worked to convince the International Ski Federation (FIS) that Mille Marie Hagen should be allowed to go during the World Cup start in Lillehammer next weekend.

Stuan believes the 19-year-old has shown that she is good enough for it, among other things through sixth place in the National Championships last weekend.

Lasse Ottesen, race director in FIS, rejects Ivar Stuan’s version.

– So far we have not denied anyone, Ottesen says.

– And then I can not say whether the decision will be yes or no. Should the decision be no, then there are reasons for it. And it’s not about what Ivar Stuan or the Norwegian Ski Association thinks this athlete is good at. It is about that we have a system that is followed, he adds.

He confirms that FIS has received an application from Norway and that this is now being processed by the Executive Board.

– They are discussing the matter now and will in the course of tomorrow confirm whether they say yes or no. I am a little surprised that Ivar Stuan reports this in the media, because the case has not been decided.

Max bad luck

The background for the noise is that Hagen has had maximum bad luck in the last two years.

The season two years ago, she was spoiled due to the kissing disease and its consequences. In 2019, she could only be in light activity. Competing was out of the question.

Hagen fought back, only to have the 2020/2021 season ruined as well.

Hagen is considered one of Norway’s greatest combined talents, despite the fact that she was put back by the kissing disease, which she was first infected with in 2017.

This time the pandemic was the cause.

Only a handful of continental and world cup races were held for the combined women. The ski association prioritises using its quota to let the five World Cup-selected runners run those races.

Thus, there have been two seasons without opportunities to run where Hagen could get so-called CoC points. This is what FIS requires that she must have to compete in the World Cup.

Stuan thought it held that Hagen participated in the junior WC last winter, but so far FIS has thought that it does not.

– Had she been injured, she would have received a dispensation. But illness certainly does not count, Stuan sighs.

– Everyone who knows about sports is aware that there are certain rules for qualifying for different levels, Lasse Ottesen points out.

– Of course, we want as many as possible to join. But it is about that at one or level we must set a limit for what is justifiable and how to qualify for the World Cup, which is the highest level. That is why you have such systems.

– You basically only have to have one Continental Cup point in the previous season. Due to the corona pandemic, we have now said that the athletes who took COC points in the previous year, ie the 19/20 season, also have the opportunity to be registered.

– Disappointing

Stuan thinks it is “completely hopeless” if Hagen is not allowed to go to the World Cup.

– She has been ill and has not had the opportunity to participate in COC races. Now she is in progress, and more than good enough to participate in Lillehammer. Then I think they should keep her quiet, he says.

Hagen is one of the Norwegian girls who has chosen to focus fully on combined, which a couple of years ago opened up for women to also go to the World Cup race.

The sports director points out that combined for women is a new sport, currently with relatively few active top athletes.

– We should take care of every single athlete who wants to do sports, and is good enough. Do not let rules go before the practitioner and common sense. I think this is very disappointing, says Stuan.

– I hope they turn around, but we have had a few rounds now. That’s so I wonder if there are any other reasons for that, but I do not know. I’m pretty sure if they wanted to, they could keep her quiet, he adds.

– Do a little with the motivation

Stuan says that what further complicates the situation is that almost the entire season can go in the sink for Hagen.

She has to run at least one race in the Continental Cup to get COC points, but the first opportunity to do so is not until mid-February.

– The season is going for her now, so this is very little thought through. She would be gold for combined, for FIS, for everyone. And then she falls victim to some rules, says Stuan.

In history’s first World Cup competition for women last winter, there was an all – Norwegian podium with gold for Gyda Westwold Hansen, and silver and bronze for the sisters Mari and Marte Leinan Lund.

The combined talent herself says she had the World Cup in Lillehammer as her big goal.

– I feel I have met the requirements and am good enough to participate. It does a bit with motivation when you see that you are not allowed to be part of what you have been looking forward to, for things you are not allowed to do anything with yourself, says Hagen.

– At the same time, I understand that rules are rules, she adds.

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