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A German cycling official has been sent home from the Tokyo Olympics after referring to competitors from Algeria and Eritrea as “camel drivers”.
Patrick Moster, sports director at the German cycling federation, was heard on television broadcasts urging his rider Nikias Arndt to catch up to cyclists from the African nations.
“Get the camel drivers,” he was recorded saying in apparent reference to the other men on the road during the time trial event.
He later apologised but will be sent home from the Games.
Beim Einzelzeitfahren war eine rassistische „Anfeuerung“ vom deutschen Leistungssportdirektor Patrick #Moster zu hören. Er rief Nikias Arndt „Hol die Kameltreiber!“ zu, vor ihm fuhren ein Eritreer und ein Algerier. Gut von Florian Naß, das sofort zu kritisieren. #OlympischeSpiele pic.twitter.com/Lw3u0ruIpq
— Maximilian Rieger (@mjrieger) July 28, 2021
Alfons Hormann, president of the German Olympic committee, said Mr Moster‘s apology was “sincere” but that he had nonetheless “breached the Olympic values”.
The International Olympic Committee backed the decision to send him home.
“We welcome the swift reaction of [the German Olympic committee] not to let him continue in his role and asking him to leave Tokyo to return back to Germany,” the IOC said.
“Comments such as these have no place at the Olympic Games.”
The International Cycling Union also said it had provisionally suspended Mr Moster ahead of a full hearing.
“The UCI Disciplinary Commission urgently examined the matter and considered that Mr. Moster‘s remarks were discriminatory and contrary to basic rules of decency,” the UCI said.
“The UCI condemns all forms of racist and discriminatory behavior and strives to ensure integrity, diversity and equality in cycling.”
Algerian rider Azzedine Lagab told German news outlet Der Spiegel that he had not received a personal apology from Mr Moster or the German team.
Lagab added he had repeatedly faced racist comments during his career.
German cyclist Arndt said the comments had been “unacceptable”.
“I am appalled by the incident at the Olympic time trial today and would like to distance myself clearly from the sporting director’s statements,” he said.
Mr Moster, 54 and himself a former cyclist, said in a statement after the race that he had made the comments “in the heat of the moment” and was “so sorry”.
“I can only sincerely apologise,” he said. “I didn’t want to disrespect anyone.”
Additional reporting by AP