Athletics: Fredericks out after `insult'

Commonwealth Games
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The Independent Online
FRANKIE FREDERICKS, the Namibian sprinter, has pulled out of the Commonwealth Games that start tomorrow in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, after being insulted by remarks from his Prime Minister.

Fredericks said the Namibian Prime Minister, Hage Geingob, "dulled" his desire to represent his country. Last month, Geingob said at a World Boxing Organisation title fight in Johannesburg that Harry Simon outclassed Fredericks' achievements by winning the super welterweight title.

"Frank is a world-class sprinter, but he doesn't have a gold from the Olympics yet," Geingob said. "By way of being Namibian heroes, they will rank about the same, but Harry is a world champion."

Geingob stood by his remarks in a statement released yesterday. Namibian sports officials said that Fredericks will compete in this weekend's World Cup in Johannesburg.

"When, after 10 years of dedicated training and tiring travel worldwide, my achievements are linked solely to not winning gold at the Olympic Games, I am compelled to take stock of my situation," said Fredericks.

His absence is a further blow to the Commonwealth Games. Canada's Donovan Bailey, the Olympic 100m champion, and Trinidad's Ato Boldon, the world 200m champion, have already said they will not participate.