Inside Athletics

Steffensen 'racially vilified' in Beijing

Outspoken Olympian John Steffensen has added more fuel to the racism firestorm in Australian athletics by revealing not only that was he the victim of a racial slur by a team official during the 2008 Beijing Olympics but he needed to bunk in another nation's quarters during the Games.

Steffensen's tirade on Channel Nine last week after teenager Steve Solomon was named ahead of him to run in the individual 400m event at London made international headlines after he claimed: ''I've put up with being racially vilified by this federation, being discriminated against on many teams.''

The 2006 Commonwealth Games champion said the decision to select Solomon, who - like Steffensen - had posted a B-qualifying standard time, was unfair on a number of fronts, age discrimination included. He then suggested his treatment from Athletics Australia would have been different over the years ''if I was a different skin colour''.

When contacted by The Sun-Herald during the week, Steffensen - who has South African heritage - said it was not the first time he had been treated as an outcast by his sporting body. He claimed that apart from being addressed by such offensive terms such as ''jungle bunny'' and ''nigger'', an AA official had racially abused him after he was booted out of the room he was sharing with Olympic pole vault champion Steve Hooker in Beijing.

Read the full story at the Sydney Morning Herald