The national sport dispute arbiter has rebuffed a trap shooter’s attempt to unseat teammate Susan Nattrass from the Canadian delegation to the Pan Am Games.
Nattrass, a 64-year-old doctor and seven-time world champion who won the prestigious Lou Marsh Award as Canada’s top athlete in 1981, will take the second of two spots for Canadian women in trap shooting at the upcoming tournament in Toronto.
Her status was challenged by Cynthia Meyer, an American-born lawyer who has competed for Canada over the past two decades, but lost to Nattrass in a tiebreaking shoot off at the Pan Am trials in Tucson, Ariz., last month.
Meyer, 49, argued Nattrass should have been docked points for delaying the competition, after her gun and keys got locked in a rental car.
Roger Gunn of the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada dismissed Meyer’s appeal on Monday.
“It has been a hard month, not knowing whether I’m going or not,” Nattrass told the Toronto Star. “I’m so relieved that there’s finally a decision.”
Nattrass’s lawyer, Mark McMakin, said the ruling marks the fourth unsuccessful attempt by Meyer to get on the team, after she appealed to referees at the trials and then took her case to the Shooting Federation of Canada. McMakin said he is pursuing an order to force Meyer to pay his client’s legal fees, which are upwards of $20,000.
“You blew down the house of straw, then you blew down the house of sticks, and now you hit the brick house, so you better give up,” McMakin said. He also praised the dispute resolution centre for the timeliness of its decision, as well as the contribution of colleague Norman Ronski.
“We could not be happier with the way in which the dispute resolution centre handled this.”
The Star was unable to reach Meyer for comment Wednesday.
Nattrass has competed alongside Meyer for years, including in women’s pairs action at the Commonwealth Games. On May 12 at the Pan Am trials, she said her keys and gun were accidentally locked in her car, which forced her to be late for her competition. But the chief referee ruled the car situation—Nattrass said the car locked automatically while she stepped away for a minute—was an “extraordinary circumstance” and allowed her to be 30 minutes late, she said.
“If I had known (Meyer would challenge that ruling) I would have asked the young man from the gun club to break the windows,” Nattrass said.
Despite the strain of this dispute, Nattrass said she wants to maintain a good relationship with her fellow trap shooter. “We’ve gone through other problems before, but I’m hoping everything will be fine. But it’s going to be hard.”
This is the second Pan Am case McMakin has taken on. He also represented Kateri Vrakking, a 42-year-old school teacher who accused Archery Canada of “ageism” after being told a younger athlete who had placed lower in the qualifying competition would be going to the tournament. The organization reversed its decision in a settlement and Vrakking was ultimately named to the team.