• Germany's news in English
 

Scandals besmirch end to world athletics championships

Published: 24 Aug 2009 11:14 GMT+02:00

Six track and field stars – among them 26-year-old US bronze medallist Bershawn Jackson – were arrested early on Sunday morning in Berlin after attacking three bouncers.

The 400-metre hurdle medallist was out with five other IAAF athletes in a group of 20 post-competition revellers when they tried to enter the “Havanna” club in Berlin’s Schöneberg district around 4 am, daily Berliner Kurier reported on Monday.

Bouncers told the group, which also included athletes from Cuba and the Bahamas, to wait in the foyer because the club was too full to accept new patrons. The athletes reacted angrily, and began throwing bottles when they were kicked out, the paper said.

Injuries to three doormen included a cranial contusion, a cervical spine injury and a split lip.

Jackson and two athletes from the Bahamas spent the night in jail and were released on Monday. They will be allowed to leave the country, but police are investigating them for disturbing the peace and assault. They face a suspended sentence.

The other athletes were Cuban bronze medallist and triple jumper Alexis Copello (24), Cuban decathlon silver medallist Leonel Suarez (21), triple jumper Leevan Sands (28) from the Bahamas, his hurdle jumper cousin Shamar Sands (24), and Bahamian high jumper Donald Thomas (25).

Meanwhile politicians were enraged on Saturday after disparaging comments about a part of eastern Berlin by public broadcaster sport reporter Wolf-Dieter Poschmann during the women’s’ hammer throw finals.

“If someone grew up in Marzahn and lived through it undamaged, then they are capable of anything,” Poschmann said of German athlete Betty Heidler, who grew up in the notoriously gritty working-class district.

Petra Pau, a high-ranking MP for The Left party from Marzahn-Hellersdorf roots told news agency DPA that the district had produced “many talented artists, athletes and Paralympics victors.”

“What we don’t need is arrogant disdain from the West,” she said of the formerly East Berlin district.

Marzahn Mayor Barbara Pohle told daily Süddeutsche Zeitung that she invited Poschmann to come visit the district.

“I truly regret that journalists for public broadcasters, who themselves have probably never set foot in the district of Marzahn-Hellersdorf, discredit the residents in this way,” Pohle told the paper.

The two scandals come in addition to Berlin discus thrower's Robert Harting's defamatory comments about athletes who were victims of systemic doping under the communist regime in former East Germany. There was also controversy surrounding South African runner Caster Semanya's near refusal to accept her 800-metre race gold medal after being ordered to take a gender test.

But there was at least one happy story at the end of the championships, after Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt was presented with a giant piece of the Berlin Wall on Sunday.

Bolt, who won gold in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m and shattered his own world records in the individual sprints, was presented with a part of the famous Cold War symbol by Berlin city mayor Klaus Wowereit.

"I'll be delighted to have this gift at my house. I will never forget Berlin," said the 23-year-old Bolt. "I didn't realise (the piece of the Wall) was going to be so big," added the triple Olympic champion.

Bolt's piece of the Wall measures 4.3 square metres and weighs 2.7 tonnes. It will be delivered to Jamaica by ship in the next three weeks, said Wowereit.

"Usain Bolt himself has brought walls down with his world records. We are presenting him with a piece of the Wall to thank him for his fantastic performances," said the mayor.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Extreme heat causes Autobahn to rupture
A fissure on the Autobahn near Heidelberg. Photo: DPA

Extreme heat causes Autobahn to rupture

The heatwave sweeping across the country may have Germans flocking to the sea this weekend, but the extreme temperatures are also causing Autobahns to break apart. READ  

Nazi island resort to be turned into luxury flats
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nazi island resort to be turned into luxury flats

A vast Nazi mega-complex meant as holiday homes for German workers and later used by the Soviets as a Cold War barracks is about to be turned into luxury flats. READ  

Greece crisis
'Bundestag must vote on new bailout': Schäuble
A poster of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble in Athens reads "For five years he has sucked your blood. Now tell him NO." Photo: DPA

'Bundestag must vote on new bailout': Schäuble

UPDATE: Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on Friday that there would be no quick release of bailout funds to Greece after the country's referendum on whether to accept its creditors' terms on Sunday. READ  

Activists give Dalai Lama 80th birthday stamp
The new Deutsche Post stamp showing the Dalai Lama. Photo: DPA

Activists give Dalai Lama 80th birthday stamp

Pro-Tibet activists have created a new limited-edition stamp featuring the Dalai Lama to mark the Tibetan spiritual leader's 80th birthday. READ  

Women's World Cup
'Germany will crack England': top coach
Star striker Celia Sasic. Photo: DPA

'Germany will crack England': top coach

The manager of European champions FFC Frankfurt told The Local he expects Germany to beat England in the third place play-off in the Women's World Cup, and predicted his protege Celia Sasic will grab a goal or two. READ  

NSA surveillance scandal
Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying
Chancellor Angela Merkel, the highest-profile German victim of NSA spying, speaking on the phone. Photo: DPA

Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying

Green Party security expert Konstantin von Notz told The Local on Friday that Chancellor Angela Merkel is failing to restore faith in the German-US partnership following fresh spying revelations. READ  

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds
Ilka Semmler and Katrin Holtwick. Photo: DPA file

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds

Germany's top beach volleyball pair are storming the world championships in Holland and prepare to face Brazil in the semis on Friday. READ  

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. Photo: DPA

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks loosed a broadside against her cabinet colleagues on Friday in a guest article for Die Welt, saying that they had decided to do too little to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in a way that would cost too much. READ  

Greece crisis
BILD polls readers in own 'Greece referendum'
Image: BILD/screenshot

BILD polls readers in own 'Greece referendum'

Tabloid Bild continued its campaign against bailouts for Greece on Friday by calling its own "referendum", asking readers to fill out a poll on whether Germany should keep stumping up. German politicians were divided on how the Greek vote would affect Europe. READ  

Police confiscate WW2 tank hidden in cellar
The Panther tank removed from a cellar in Kiel, with a prosecutors' evidence label attached to its barrel. Photo: DPA

Police confiscate WW2 tank hidden in cellar

Police searched a villa in a wealthy suburb of Kiel on Wednesday and found a Second World War tank, a torpedo and other weaponry in the cellar. On Thursday they were still working on removing the tank. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,858
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd