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'Get the camel riders': German coach sent home from Olympics after racist remarks

Patrick Moster suspended after being caught on camera making racist comment about Algerian and Eritrean cyclists
German coach Patrick Moster was caught making racist remarks while giving encouragement to rider Nikias Arndt (pictured) during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (AFP/File photo)

A German cycling coach has been suspended and sent home from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after he was captured making racist remarks about Algerian and Eritrean cyclists. 

During the men’s time trial event on Wednesday, coach Patrick Moster was caught on air telling German rider Nikias Arndt to “get those camel riders,” referring to Algerian cyclist Azzedine Lagab and Eritrea’s Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier.

Translation: During the individual time trial, there was some racist “encouragement” from the German competitive sports director Patrick Moster, listen. He shouted to Nikias Arndt “Get the camel riders!” An Eritrean and an Algerian rode in front of him. Good from Florian Nass for criticising that immediately

Florian Nass, a German sports reporter who was commentating live for state broadcaster ARD, reacted with shock. 

“If I understood correctly what he shouted, it was totally inappropriate. Words fail me. Something like that has no place in sport,” Nass said, immediately after the racist comments were made. 

Moster later apologised, stating: “In the heat of the moment and with the overall burden that we have here at the moment, my choice of words was not appropriate. I am extremely sorry and can only offer my sincere apologies.”

'There is no camel race'

In a statement, the German Olympic Sports Confederation confirmed that Moster could not continue in his role as the leader of the national team’s cycling squad at the Games, and would be returning to Germany. 

Algerian cyclist Lagab initially joked about the incident, tweeting: “There is no camel race in #Olympics that’s why I came to cycling. At least I was there in #Tokyo2020.” 

He followed up by stating that he had faced aggressive racist comments before, but preferred not to deal with them on social media. 

“It’s such a shame it happens in the Olympics,” Lagab said.

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), cycling's governing body, provisionally suspended the German coach on Thursday.

“The UCI Disciplinary Commission urgently examined the matter and considered that Mr Moster’s remarks were discriminatory and contrary to basic rules of decency,” it said in a statement. 

“The UCI condemns all forms of racist and discriminatory behaviour and strives to ensure integrity, diversity and equality in cycling.”