A Malaysian cyclist at the Commonwealth Games who wore gloves with "Save Gaza" written on them has been reprimanded by his team and warned he will be expelled if he does it again.
Azizulhasni Awang competed in the men's sprint on Thursday (local time) wearing gloves that had the words "Save" written across knuckles on one hand and "Gaza" over the other. Awang's fists featuring the message were held to cameras after the race, which took him into the quarterfinals.
"The actions were investigated and we spoke with the Malaysian team management," Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper said on Friday (local time). "It's inappropriate for any form of protest, etc. in a games venue. We respect everyone's right to protest ... however it is inappropriate.
"He has had a strong reprimand from his team management, he's apologised profusely. He now knows any repetition will see a removal of his accreditation."
During Friday's sprint quarterfinal races, Awang wore plain black gloves as he lost to Sam Webster of New Zealand, having defended his right to back Gaza's residents.
"I feel sorry to the people who misinterpret my message. There's no such thing with political protest," Awang wrote on his Facebook page. "It's from the bottom of my heart to express humanitarian (thoughts). Since when (is) expressing humanitarian considered as political?
"Anyway, I apologise to those who think I'm doing wrong and thanks a lot to everyone who always keep supporting ... me. There's no word that I can express it."
Israeli ground troops and Hamas gunmen continued to fight intense battles on Friday in Gaza where more than 800 Palestinians have been killed during 18 days of fighting. The Israeli death toll is 35, among them 33 soldiers.