Aussie rower sent home after drunk rampage

Last updated 10:16 04/08/2012
DETAINED: Australian rower Josh Booth.
JASON SOUTH/Fairfax Australia
DETAINED: Australian rower Josh Booth.

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An emotional and remorseful Josh Booth has urged other athletes "to seek help" after difficult Olympic experiences, admitting he would "regret his behaviour for many years to come".

Facing the media after it was confirmed the Olympic rower would be sent home in disgrace from London after his drunken rampage on Wednesday night, Booth said he was deeply ashamed of his actions: "As a young athlete I have made a very grave and public mistake."

Booth also said he was desperately sorry for "undermining the integrity of our team and our successes of late".

After a day of negotiations between the AOC and local police from Egham, where Booth damaged two shop windows, the Australian team said no criminal charges would be laid with the Olympic rower agreeing to pay a $2100 repair bill.

Standing at the picturesque village green in Egham - near the Australian rower's team village - Booth almost broke down as he faced the media reading from a prepared statement, and described his havoc-wreaked night as being the result of "an emotional outburst dealing with the emotional surfeits of Olympic competition".

Alongside the Australian chef de mission Nick Green, Booth stared straight ahead as Green confirmed he would be discharged from the team and sent back to Australia.

Booth said the support he had received from fellow rowers had been "phenomenal, which makes my betrayal of them much worse".

While Green pointed out the 21-year-old had apologised personally and paid for the damage he had caused to local business owners of Egham, he said that Booth's behaviour was not consistent with the standards expected of Olympic athletes.

The 21-year-old has also personally apologised to the local businesses whose buildings he damaged.

Both Green and Booth refused to take questions. Australia's assistant chef de mission Chris Fydler earlier described Booth's predicament as "an embarrassing situation".

"We expect a higher standard of behaviour from all our athletes," he said.

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- FFX Aus

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