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China coach says Guo Shuang and Gong Jinjie have been robbed of gold at London Olympics

08/03/2012 09:44 EDT | Updated 10/03/2012 05:12 EDT
LONDON - The coach of the Chinese track cycling team says Guo Shuang and Gong Jinjie were "robbed" of a gold medal after being relegated for a rule infringement during the women's team sprint final at the London Olympics.

Daniel Morelon, a former Olympic champion in the individual sprint, told The Associated Press that China won't contest the race officials' decision because there is no appeal possible.

Guo and Gong twice improved on the world record and posted the best time in final against their German rivals before they were disqualified for an illegal relay.

Germany was awarded the gold medal and China took silver.

"The race jury decision was not clear at all," said Morelon, a Frenchman who has been working with the Chinese team since the Beijing Olympics. "They rode exactly the same race in qualifying and in the first round, taking the same relay. Logically, race officials should have disqualified our team in qualifying."

Morelon said Guo and Gong, who dominated the tournament from the start with two world records in the space of one hour, should have won the title had the race officials be fair.

"This is an injustice," he said. "They robbed us of the gold medal. A gold medal which was really important for the Chinese people because they are still looking for their first gold in cycling. They would have made history."

Cycling's world governing body spokesman Enrico Carpani said in an email to The Associated Press that there is no longer an appeals process in cycling, so "nothing else will happen in relation with this."

Morelon said that he vainly tried to convince race officials to overrule the decision to disqualify the Chinese pair.

"But the race jury president has absolute power," Morelon said. "You can't attack his ruling. He just gave me a vague explanation, claiming that he was in a hurry because of the other competitions. I asked him to see the video footage of the race on slow motion, but he refused."

Morelon, the last Frenchman to have won the Olympic sprint title back in 1972, said he believes all nations are not treated equally under the roof of the London Velodrome and lashed out at an "amateurish" decision.

He said the British team who went on to win the gold medal in the team's sprint on Thursday should have been disqualified in the first round.

"When you look at the video, the British come out of their lane before the dedicated zone," Morelon said. "When the French coach tried to show the video to the commissaires, they did not want to see it."

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AP Sports Writer David Skretta contributed to this report

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