German Olympic rower denies boyfriend is neo-Nazi


FAR-RIGHT LINKS:A GERMAN Olympic rower who left the London games prematurely has denied claims her boyfriend is a neo-Nazi and insisted she will continue in the sport.

The allegation last week prompted Nadja Drygalla (23) to depart the Olympic village on Friday having already completed her participation in the games.

Drygalla confirmed that her boyfriend had been a candidate for the neo-Nazi NPD in the north-eastern city of Rostock last year. Since then, she said, he had “cut all ties” to the far right.

“I personally have never had any connections to his circle of friends and reject this whole [far-right] scene absolutely,” she said, dismissing claims that she was pictured at an NPD march in 2009. “That is not me, I can say that clearly. I find this unfair and unjust.” After a discussion with the head of the German Olympic rowing team last week, she offered to leave London to avoid being a distraction.

“I wasn’t doing well, the whole thing was very stressful and quite surprising,” she said.

German rowing officials said they knew nothing about the issue and were satisfied the rower had done nothing wrong.

Her departure has caused a storm of controversy in Germany, with opinion divided over whether she had acted correctly or was the victim of trial by media.

In an interview in Germany yesterday, Drygalla said her boyfriend’s political views had caused controversy in the past and contributed to her departure from the police force last year. She recalled discussions with her superiors “that discussed the issue and in which my loyalty to the police force was called into question”.

“I came to the conclusion that there were conflicts,” she said.

The NPD is classified as a far-right, xenophobic and anti-Semitic party. It has seats in two regional parties, though not in the Bundestag, as well as local councils, primarily in eastern German states.