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Man arrested for ‘hate crime’ at World Outgames

Jessica Geen July 30, 2009
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A man has been arrested at the World Outgames in Copenhagen for allegedly throwing fireworks at athletes.

The 31-year-old Danish man, who was caught as he tried to flee the Sparta Athletes club on Tuesday, told a court he had thrown one firework against a wall but did not intend to hurt athletes.

A US participant suffered a minor injury to his hand but no one else was hurt.

The runner, Dean Koga, told he had to have surgery to remove shrapnel from his hand.

Early reports suggested three bombs were thrown onto the track but police have now said they were fireworks.

Copenhagen Police commissioner Poul B Hansen said he believed the suspect knew the games were a gay event.

He told the Danish newspaper Politiken: “We are certain it was no coincidence that he threw the fireworks where he did – but it is, of course, up to the judge to decide if we are right.”

World Outgames director Uffe Elbæk said: “We are deeply saddened that this should occur during an otherwise excellent event, and moved on behalf of the injured athlete.

“I am, however, relieved that the incident was not more serious and I am very satisfied by our cooperation with the police during this episode.”

The opening ceremony of the games on Saturday was marred by an attack on three participants, including one British man, just outside of the ceremony’s civic venue.

Two men have been arrested and the victims, from Sweden, Norway and UK, have received hospital treatment.

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