An official from the Norwegian Cycling Federation has vowed never to race in Qatar again after accusing a Doha police officer of deliberately crashing into a female junior cyclist with his car.
“We cannot compete in such a country,” the Federation’s director of sport Hans Falk told Norway’s TV2 this week about the alleged incident involving Norway’s Susanne Andersen during the UCI World Championships last month.
Andersen, who picked up a bronze medal at the event, was cycling back to the team hotel after riding the time trial portion of the race when she was hit by the police car. The 18-year-old escaped serious injury, but suffered several contusions and scrapes.
“I am convinced that it was a deliberate action by the policeman who drove right into Susanne,” Falk said. “I cannot say for sure, but there were no skid marks, and (the police officer) showed no empathy. Instead he lit a cigarette and talked on the phone oblivious to the girl who was lying on the ground and screaming.”
Falk believes it was Andersen’s bike shorts that may have irked the police officer, as they are “considered to be controversial clothing” in conservative Middle Eastern country.
In 2014, the strict Muslim nation launched a campaign instructing tourists to dress modestly and obey cultural norms. The campaign included a brochure that urged women not to bare any skin between the neck and knees. Andersen’s bike shorts ended mid-thigh.
When asked why Falk waited until now to level his allegations, he said he was warned by unnamed individuals when the collision happened that if he filed a formal complaint, Andersen might have wound up being held in the country against her will.