German cycling chief sent home from Olympics after racist remarks

Moster was heard using a racist phrase when he urged rider Arndt to catch Algerian rider Lagab and Ghebreigzabhier of Eritrea.

German cyclist Arndt, front, distanced himself from Moster's comments, saying he was 'appalled' [File: Tim de Waele/Reuters]

The sporting director of Germany’s cycling team will be sent home from the Tokyo Olympics after making a racist comment about riders from Africa during the men’s time trial.

Germany’s national Olympic body (DOSB) said on Thursday that Patrick Moster would no longer act as cycling sports director during the Games and would return to Germany “shortly”.

Moster was heard on Wednesday using a racist phrase in the television broadcast of the race by Germany’s ARD network when he urged rider Nikias Arndt to catch Algerian rider Azzedine Lagab and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier of Eritrea from the side of the track at a refreshment station.

The 54-year-old was heard instructing Arndt to “get the camel drivers”.

“Mr Moster violated the Olympic values,” said DOSB president Alfons Hoermann. “Fair play, respect and tolerance are not negotiable for Team Germany.”

Moster told dpa news agency that he “made a wrong choice of words”.

“I am so sorry, I can only sincerely apologise. I didn’t want to discredit anyone,” Moster added.

In response to the racial slur, Algerian cyclist Lagab said on Twitter: “Well, There is no camel race in #olympics that’s why I came to cycling. At least I was there in Tokyo2020.”

“I had more agressive racist comments before, but I’ve always preferred to deal with them on the spot, far from social media It’s such a shame it happens in the Olympics,” Lagab said in a separate tweet.

The German cyclist Arndt, meanwhile, distanced himself from Moster’s comments, saying that he was “appalled by the incidents at today’s Olympic time trial and would like to distance myself from the statements of the sports director! Such words are not acceptable”.

“The Olympics and cycling stand for tolerance, respect and fairness. I 100 per cent represent these values and take my hat off to all the great athletes who have come to Tokyo from all over the world,” he added.

Team Africa Rising, an organisation seeking to develop cycling in the continent, called for Moster to step down.

“We call for the immediate and unconditional resignation of Patrick Moster Germany Cycling,” it tweeted. “This is completely unacceptable and an apology is not enough.”

German Cycling Federation President Rudolf Scharping said the comment was “not acceptable” amid widespread criticism of Moster, including from the sport’s governing body, the UCI, which also condemned the remark.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies