x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Verbruggen denies 2000 Games bribery claims

The former president of cycling's world governing body has denied claims a track event bought its place in the Olympic Games.

Britain's Chris Hoy is favourite for the gold medal in Beijing.
Britain's Chris Hoy is favourite for the gold medal in Beijing.

BEIJING // The former president of cycling's world governing body has denied claims a track event bought its place in the Olympic Games. The keirin, an event in which riders follow a motorbike for a set number of laps before fighting it out in a sprint, first entered the Olympics in 2000. Keirin is big business in Japan and the BBC claim an investigation has produced documents that show payments totalling $3million (Dh11 million) from the Japanese Keirin Association to the UCI.

But Hein Verbruggen, the president of the UCI from 1991-2005 and now in charge of the organising committee for the Beijing Games, insisted the process was above board. He told the BBC: "It's been done in total transparency. This was done for the development of track cycling around the world." Karamasu, of Japan's Keirin Association, also denied the claims, saying: "No transfer of money took place. What we did is that we supported establishing the cycling training centres in Japan and also we paid the set amount that all the national federations pay for membership - sort of a membership fee - I have to say I do not know about it at all. I have been in this position up until 1998, however I've never heard of any direct payment of money or cash."

Britain's Chris Hoy is favourite for the gold medal in Beijing. * PA Sport