Australian track sprinter Jobie Dajka has hit out against cycling in Australia, calling it a "corrupt and drug ridden" sport. The South Australian made the allegations after a Cycling Australia disciplinary tribunal hearing recommended that he be banned for four years for assaulting national track coach Martin Barras.
"I've almost had enough of this cycling crap," Dajka was quoted by AAP as saying. "It's corrupt, you know. It's drug-ridden. Years and years after, you know, trying to do the best for my country, I've just been trodden on. I've just about had enough. Four years - I think I'll put my football boots on."
Dajka assaulted Barras at the Cycling Australia/AIS High Performance Offices in Adelaide on Wednesday, June 8. He admitted to the tribunal that he had done so, although he regretted it. He claims he was pushed into doing it after he was accused of bullying other riders.
Cycling Australia has postponed the rest of the disciplinary hearing until next Thursday, June 16, and stated that it hasn't made a decision to ban Dajka yet. "The allegations are serious and in fairness to all the parties involved the tribunal must be allowed adequate time to deal with the matter," said Cycling Australia CEO, Graham Fredericks. "The panel has directed that details of the evidence so far presented remain in confidence at this time and we will respect that direction."
Fredericks also responded to the allegations made by Dajka that the sport was "corrupt and drug ridden". "If anyone wants to come forward with evidence, we will act on it, but unsubstantiated and sensational allegations are unfair to the athletes who are working hard every day to represent their country to the best of their ability and all of our members," said Fredericks.
"Mr Dajka's outburst is absolute nonsense. He has been involved in a number of enquiries in the past eighteen months and has had numerous opportunities to put forward evidence of wrongdoing. He's not done so and whilst I understand he is under great stress at the moment and facing a very serious charge I am disappointed by his accusations."
Dajka was implicated in the notorious Mark French affair last year, where it was found that he had lied to a doping inquiry about injecting himself with legal supplements. He lost his place in the Athens Olympic team because of that, and was also suspended.
Mr Fredericks denied that there was widespread doping in cycling in Australia. "There is no evidence to support a claim of systemic drug use within Australian cycling," he said. "There is, in any sport, the odd bad apple but we have and will continue to rid cycling of such people.
"I believe we are handling our affairs very well and in this matter have acted swiftly and decisively whilst providing natural justice for the athlete involved. Public support is increasing which is evidenced by the growth of the sport - membership is up, participation in events is up and increasing numbers are involved in recreational cycling.
"At the same time our athletes are maintaining excellent results on the international stage. As far as I'm concerned that proves our sport is in good health."