South Africa denies teenage skier Sochi place

South Africa’s Olympic committee has withdrawn its sole qualifier for the Sochi Games, saying slalom skier Sive Speelman isn’t good enough.

Speelman had qualified for Sochi according to Olympic criteria and been allocated a spot at the games, even though he is ranked outside the top 2,000. But the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee says it won’t send him because it wants its athletes at the games to be “of the highest quality.”

The decision has been criticized in South Africa. The 18-year-old Speelman is from the country’s rural and impoverished Eastern Cape province and his home town is one of the few places in South Africa where it occasionally snows.