Chinese cycling coach says women's sprint team 'robbed' of gold
The coach of the Chinese Olympic track cycling team said Friday that Guo Shuang and Gong Jinjie were "robbed" of a gold medal when they were disqualified for a rule violation.
Daniel Morelon told The Associated Press that China cannot appeal the decision in the team sprint final.
Guo and Gong twice improved on the world record Thursday and posted the best time in the final against their German rivals before they were disqualified for an illegal relay. Germany was awarded gold and China silver.
"The race jury decision was not clear at all," said Morelon, a 1972 Olympic champion in the individual sprint who has been working with the Chinese team since the Beijing Olympics.
He said Guo and Gong had ridden exactly the same in qualifying and the first round and logically should have been disqualified then if they did anything wrong.
"This is an injustice," Morelon said. "They robbed us of the gold medal. A gold medal which was really important for the Chinese people because they are still looking for their first gold in cycling. They would have made history."
A spokeswoman for the world governing body of cycling, Enrico Carpani, said in an email to the AP that there is no longer an appeals process in cycling.
Morelon said that he tried in vain to persuade race officials to overrule the decision to disqualify the Chinese pair and got only a vague explanation. He said the president of the race jury claimed to be in a hurry.
"I asked him to see the video footage of the race on slow motion, but he refused," Morelon said.
Morelon said he believes not all nations are treated equally at the London Velodrome and lashed out at an "amateurish" decision.
He said the British men's sprint team who went on to win the gold medal on Thursday should have been disqualified in the first round.
"When you look at the video, the British come out of their lane before the dedicated zone," Morelon said. "When the French coach tried to show the video to the commissaires, they did not want to see it."