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Ice Hockey Friday, 1 February, 2002, 11:32 GMT
Nabokov dream crushed
San Jose Sharks' goaltender Evgeni Nabokov is refused permission to represent Russia at Salt Lake City
Russia will have to make do without Nabokov
Ice hockey goaltender Evgeni Nabokov has lost an appeal, leaving him ineligible to represent Russia in the Winter Olympics.

Nabokov, who plays his club hockey in the NHL, competed for Kazakhstan in the 1994 World Championships but has been attempting to switch to the Russian team.

However, the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) has ruled against him.

The decision was based on an International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) bylaw which states that players cannot represent two different countries in IHHF-sanctioned championships or Olympics.

Age limit

To make matters worse for Nabokov he also marginally missed out on an exception to those rules.

The IIHF say he would have been allowed to change national teams had he been aged 18 or younger when he represented Kazakhstan.

Unfortunately for Nabokov he was 19 years old at the time of the 1994 Championships.

A spokesman for Nabokov's club San Jose Sharks said: "We're very disappointed for Nabby.

"We knew how much he wanted to play for Russia. Kazakhstan was once a part of Russia and he considers himself Russian."

Russia will now have to make do without a man who has been in fine form for San Jose this season and who won last year's Calder Memorial Trophy.

Links to more Ice Hockey stories are at the foot of the page.

Links to more Ice Hockey stories

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