Sacked Chinese curler caps bad day with U.S. headgear

Tue Mar 9, 2010 5:41am EST
 
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China curling skip Wang Fengchun's sacking following his failure at the Vancouver Olympics was compounded by the fact he wore a U.S. team cap on the plane home.

The Chinese men finished eighth out of 10 teams in the opening round robin of last month's Winter Games, failing to progress after losing seven and winning just two of their games.

Wang was not allowed to join in the celebratory banquet on the Olympic delegation's return to Beijing, instead he was immediately dispatched to the railway station for the 12-hour train journey home to Harbin.

"We made our decision in Vancouver. We did not need to communicate this to him because he knows how he affected the team," team manager Li Dongyan told the Information Times.

"He was unhappy about not being sent to play the last two games. He was wearing a U.S. team cap when he arrived at the Beijing airport in a Chinese uniform. Do you think that is appropriate?"

"It'll be very helpful to heavily slap him down him with pain," Li added. "We will not give up on such a good curler. We hope he changes his attitude and we will then consider using him in future competitions."

Beijing's Fawan newspaper reported on Tuesday that Wang's father had been taken to hospital with a heart attack on hearing the news of his sacking, however the Chinese team manager told Reuters he knew nothing about this.

"The cap was a souvenir exchanged with an American athlete. It was inappropriate indeed to wear it coming back," Wang told the newspaper.

"I have been self-criticizing since. But my love for curling never changes. I am really keen to return to the rink to serve my country."

(Reporting by Liu Zhen and Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O'Brien)