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SYDNEY 2000 / SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES | NOTES

Perec, Companion Face More Questions

September 22, 2000|From Staff and Wire Reports

Police in Singapore questioned French Olympic running star Marie-Jose Perec and her companion for much of the day Thursday, after the companion allegedly attacked a TV news cameraman at Singapore's international airport.

Perec and her American companion, Anthuan Maybank, left Singapore late Thursday night, bound for Paris aboard an Air France jetliner. A crowd of journalists and photographers was on hand, startling other passengers waiting to board the plane.

Perec refused to talk to reporters, leaving the world to wonder about one of the most bizarre episodes coming from the Sydney Games.

Perec, defending champion in the 400 meters, fled Sydney late Wednesday after reportedly being accosted by an unidentified man in her hotel room.

Her anticipated duel with Cathy Freeman of Australia in the high-profile event had been expected to be one of the high points of this year's Olympics.

Maybank, a former 400-meter runner himself, rushed at free-lance TV cameraman Kyme Hallion, an Australian, when he tried to film Perec on her arrival at Singapore's Changi Airport early Thursday, Hallion said.

"He came at me like a raging bull," Hallion told the Associated Press in an interview from his Singapore office. "He was steaming. And he was a big guy."

Hallion stopped filming, but later encountered the couple again.

"He lunged at me, and I automatically started filming again," Hallion said. "I was on the ground, and he was hitting me and trying to either break the camera or get the film out. He hit me on the back of my head with his fist. He kept repeating: 'Give me the tape!' "

*

Czech cyclist Jan Hruska is out of the Olympics after testing positive for what a Czech official identified as nandrolone.

The International Cycling Union confirmed his disqualification in a statement from its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

*

One of two prison escapees who commandeered a van carrying members of South Korea's Olympic delegation was charged today with 11 offenses, including four counts of kidnapping.

Chad Richards, 26, also faces charges of stealing a motor vehicle and driving while under the influence of a drug after he was arrested at his girlfriend's southwestern Sydney home Thursday.

He made no application for bail and was ordered to appear in court Sept. 29.

A 32-year-old woman charged with harboring an escaped prisoner was released on bail and will appear in court Oct. 18.

Alan Stebens, 35, who was serving 10 years for armed robbery and culpable driving causing death, remains at large.

*

Sydney 2000 is heading for a sellout--only 400,000 tickets are left for the last 10 days of the Games, organizers said today.

As Olympic fever gripped Sydney, 600,000 last-minute tickets have been bought by fans in the last week alone.

Now more than 5.75 million tickets have been sold--that is 84.5% compared to the previous Olympic record of 82.3% set in Barcelona in 1992, officials said.

*

Gasoline from a burst pipe spilled into a marina used for the Olympic sailing regatta, a Sydney Waterways Authority spokesman said.

Police and fire brigades went to the marina at Rushcutters Bay on Sydney Harbor's southern foreshore after residents and journalists complained of fumes.

The Olympic regatta was unlikely to be affected by the spill and racing would go ahead as scheduled today, a spokeswoman said.

*

Three men have been arrested for the theft of a car and canoeing gear worth $14,400 belonging to the U.S. Olympic canoe and kayak team, Australian police said today.

The gear, including team clothing and electronic equipment, was stolen on Thursday in a break-in at premises leased by the U.S. team at Leonay, near the Penrith Olympic rowing course in western Sydney.

*

Athletes were told to dispose of their syringes more carefully after two cleaners in the Olympic athletes' village suffered needle stick injuries.

Officials said Thursday the athletes use the syringes to inject vitamins, usually B12.

Four teams have had their housekeeping services suspended indefinitely after the cleaners suffered injuries.

Village manager Maurice Holland said: "They were told in no uncertain terms today that this was unacceptable and the chefs [de mission] were told it was their responsibility to make sure sharps were disposed of properly."

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