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Australian Paralympic Committee checking review on Canberra swimmer Hayley Morris

Australian Paralympic Committee chief executive Jason Hellwig wants to be assured the correct protocols were followed for Canberra teenager Hayley Morris' unsuccessful review which has shattered her Commonwealth Games dream.

The 15-year-old's promising swimming career is in limbo after classifiers from the International Paralympic Committee ruled she wasn't eligible to compete in paralympic swimming at an international level.

Morris travelled to Brazil with the Australian team to be assessed after she emerged as a star of the future by winning the national championship. She posted a time good enough to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in the SB9 100m breaststroke earlier this month.

Morris has a twisted femur from a birth defect and is unable to bend her feet into the correct position for a legal breaststroke kick.

She is entitled to have the decision reviewed by a separate panel, but if that panel upholds the original decision there is no avenue for a further appeal to the court of arbitration of sport.

Hellwig will consult with Swimming Australia to find out whether the second review took place to the required standards.


"The second review needs to be done by a different panel to the first review, so we'll run our eye over that and do what is necessary to make sure the right thing happens,'' Hellwig said.

''The first thing is to make sure we have a system in Australia where 99 times out of 100 we get athletes in the right classes at a domestic level and that applies internationally.

''There will always be those athletes who are right on the cusp where you need that international panel to make that final determination.

''If there is any anxiety about that at all, the sooner you can get that done the better.

''We've tried to move that process as far away from a Paralympic Games as possible and as early in an athlete's career as possible.''

Morris' level of disability is rated a nine, which is the mildest form of physical impairment an athlete can have in a disabled division.

She has twisted femurs as a result of her hips being at the wrong angle, a problem developed as a twin in the womb.

Morris also has a mild form of spina bifida, a developmental congenital disorder caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube that affects one in every 1000 children.

She has been disqualified from able-bodied races when competing in the breaststroke, but is able to perform the remaining three disciplines.

Her coach David Murphy said while she is quite a good backstroker and a competent all-round swimmer in her other strokes, it would be a shame if she wasn't allowed to compete in the breaststroke.

"The difficulty for me as a coach is that she's always had beautiful rhythm and timing in her breaststroke, except for her ability to turn out her feet, because she can't,'' Murphy said.

"Potentially it was her best stroke and that's what makes it hard because it was referees that encouraged us to get her classified.

"I'd encourage her to keep swimming because it's not just about representing Australia, there's also the lifestyle aspect to it.''

Hellwig said the number of classifiers in Australia of an international standard was a vast improvement on five years ago.

"We've really tried to get Australians up to an international standard,'' Hellwig said.

"What we don't have in Australia is enough international classifiers to give us a round table of people who can help us with athletes who are right on the margins.

"The reality of paralympic sport is that one of its defining and unique characteristics is classification and there will always be really difficult classification situations to test the system.''