Germany's Boenisch plans boycott

Olympic judo champion aims to boycott Beijing's opening ceremony.

    Yvonne Boenisch at her moment of
    triumph in Athens [GALLO/GETTY]

    German Olympic judo champion Yvonne Boenisch plans to boycott the opening ceremony at the Beijing Games.

    "I want to send a signal and I will not take part in the opening ceremony,'' Boenisch told German television network ZDF.

    Boenisch said she would also wear a wrist band in protest over China's crackdown in Tibet, but ruled out skipping the games themselves.

    "For every athlete taking part in the games is the biggest thing. If there were a boycott, thousands of dreams would be ruined,'' she said.

    German Olympic officials have pledged to send a team to China.

    Boenisch became the first German woman to win a judo gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

    Robbins looks for return

    Meanwhile, controversial Australian rower Sally Robbins completed a time trial for this year's Beijing Olympics in a double scull.

    Robbins, dubbed "Lay Down Sally" after she stopped rowing towards the end of the eights final at the 2004 Athens Games, now faces an anxious wait to see if she will row in Beijing in August.

    She was partnered in the trial by Catriona Sens, who was in the same eights boat as Robbins four years ago and infamously slapped her at a function after the Games.

    Sally Robbins, left, is hoping to return
    to Olympic rowing [GALLO/GETTY] 

    The pair negotiated the 2,000 metre course in seven minutes 16.42 seconds in windy conditions at the Sydney International Regatta Centre before taking part in a group hug with four other members of the sculls training squad.

    "Sally was good today, probably one of her best," chairman of selectors Noel Donaldson told reporters.

    "She was rowing with Catriona and everyone knows the history of that so they deserve a big pat on the back for their performance."

    Donaldson has not yet decided whether Robbins, who has struggled to find her best form this season, will make the team for Beijing, due to be named next Tuesday.

    "We've seen a fair bit of Sal and we've still got to scratch our heads and see where she fits into it all," he said.

    Rowing Australia has imposed a media ban on Robbins.

    "It's better that she just focuses on her rowing rather than focusing on the notoriety that sits behind it all," Donaldson said.

    "Let her be an athlete in her own right."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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