South African swimmer Roland Schoeman teetered on the edge of a racial storm Friday after accusing the Indian crowd of acting "like monkeys" at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
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The former world record holder then took aim at the organizers, labeling the Commonwealth Games a "joke."
"It’s an absolute disgrace. There’s a guy in the stands just shouting, shouting, shouting. Somebody like that needs to be ejected," Schoeman said.
"It’s unacceptable to be at a professional event like this and have people going on like monkeys. Someone like that doesn’t deserve to be here."
Schoeman was frustrated after narrowly avoiding being disqualified. He and England’s Simon Burnett false-started after hearing a noise in the stand at the start of the second semi-final for the men’s 50m freestyle.
But it was Schoeman’s "monkey" reference that threatened to detonate.
The term has taken on new meaning in recent years, with Indian cricketers sledging Australia’s Andrew Symonds with monkey taunts on Australia’s 2007 tour of India.
The Indian Express described Schoeman’s comments as a "moment of madness."
Officials at the pool, though, appeared unconcerned at the remark.
Schoeman was also frustrated at the lack of professionalism poolside.
Moments before the race he asked an attendant for a towel to dry down after his false start but was astonishingly refused.
"I asked for a towel, they weren’t willing to give me one," he said.