A Scottish court has ordered an Australian medal winner to pay compensation to a Welsh weightlifter after he admitted head-butting him in the athletes’ village. Francois Etoundi, also a weightlifter, assaulted Gareth Evans early on Wednesday after a verbal exchange relating to the Welshman’s girlfriend.
At Glasgow Sheriff Court, Sheriff Andrew Cubie ordered Etoundi to pay £400 ($675) compensation to Evans for causing injury. Cubie says Etoundi brought “the law of the playground” into the village, adding that his behaviour “undermines the concept of the friendly games.”
The Cameroon-born Etoundi, who won the bronze medal in the 77-kilogram (170-pound) division on Sunday, had already been stripped of his games accreditation after being arrested. Evans was fifth in the 62-kilogram (137-pound) division.
Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper described it as a “very serious incident” that was witnessed by many people in the village. “I made it clear I didn’t want him back in the village when violent behaviour is asserted,” Hooper said. “The Games have to be safe and secure. It is a big village like a city that has developed over a very short period of time,” Hooper said. “People have to respect each other’s space and this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated.”
This incident is the latest in the series of events afflicting Australia, which could see the country’s 20-year domination of the competition coming to an end Australia have topped the medals standings at every Commonwealth Games since 1990, but slipped to second place behind England, trailing 36-44 in the gold medal count. With the Games ending on Sunday, Australia looked unlikely to regain the lead because swimming, where the team won 19 of the total 44 golds, is over.
On a tumultuous day for Australia, officials also had to deal with strife within the track and field team. Eric Hollingsworth, head coach of the athletics team, was ordered to return home as punishment for releasing an unauthorised statement criticising Olympic hurdles champion Sally Pearson for not attending the team’s pre-Glasgow training camp.
“We decided the appropriate action was to revoke his accreditation and he will fly home as soon as possible,” Australia chef de mission Steve Moneghetti said. “He understands the sanctions that have been imposed on him and he has his right to his own views and opinions on the matter.
He’s been open and honest with us, but he breached the team agreement set by the Australian Commonwealth Games Federation and that is like our bible to us.”
Hollingsworth cut Pearson’s funding for her Commonwealth Games preparations after she opted not to attend the athletics team’s training camp in England, saying “her no-show sets a bad example to the entire national team.”