Race row: Roland Schoeman cleared

2010-10-09 10:47

South African team management cleared swimmer Roland Schoeman of racial allegations after he allegedly called a spectator a “monkey” at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.

The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Comittee (Sascoc) said in a statement that the team’s chef de mission, Patience Shikwambana, had cleared Schoeman of any breach of conduct after his apparent choice of words yesterday triggered a racial storm.

Shikwambana met with Schoeman later last night and accepted his explanation.

“Given the media enquiries there definitely has been a misinterpretation of what he said,” Shikwambana said.

“We consider the matter dealt with and Roland’s focus now is on winning a medal in the final on Saturday evening.”

Sascoc said Schoeman had “dispelled media reports that there was malice or a racist reference” and had been “frustrated at the noise”.

The former Olympic gold medallist and another swimmer left the blocks early in the men’s 50m freestyle semi-finals yesterday, but both were allowed to restart the race.

Schoeman qualified fifth fastest for this evening’s final in a time of 22.48 seconds.

‘Going on like monkeys’

“It’s unacceptable to be at a professional event like this and have people going on like monkeys,” Schoeman said afterwards, according to AFP.

“Someone like that doesn’t deserve to be here. It’s an absolute disgrace. There’s a guy in the stands just shouting, shouting, shouting. Somebody like that needs to be ejected.”

Schoeman posted on Twitter that he was disrupted by the behaviour of one spectator, but added that the Indian crowd had been “fantastic” during the Games.

“For the first time in my life I had someone scream out as we were going to start the 50m freestyle,” he said.

“I’ve never experienced something like that before. The behaviour by that individual was unacceptable and my comments are directed solely at him.

“The spectators have been fantastic here. But an individual like that doesn’t deserve to be sitting poolside at an international competition.”

Schoeman, who won four medals – three gold and one bronze – at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, secured bronze in the men’s 50m butterfly on Wednesday and the men’s 4x400m freestyle on Monday.

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