Papachristou ban harsh, says coach
Olympics: Triple jumper Paraskevi Papachristou's expulsion from the Greek Olympics team for a tweet seen as racist was unduly harsh, according to her coach.
Papachristou, 23, was pulled from the team in London yesterday after prompting outrage in her homeland for tweeting: "With so many Africans in Greece... the West Nile mosquitoes will at least eat homemade food!!!"
A small outbreak of the West Nile virus in Greece has claimed one victim this year, while five other cases have been reported.
Papachristou later apologised for the comment, saying she was ashamed of making "an unfortunate and tasteless joke". That failed to impress the Greek Olympic council, which said she could not represent her country after failing to respect basic Olympic values.
"It's too much, the penalty should not have been so strict," her coach George Pomaski said today. "She has already apologised for her remarks."
Pomaski said he had been unable to reach her for several hours. "She has disappeared. This is a big disappointment not only for her but for her family and for myself, and anyone involved in the Greek team."
Greece are sending 105 competitors in 16 sports to the London Olympics.