June 25, 2019

Aussie cyclist Perkins stars in ‘finger’ double bill

Shane Perkins - not a finger in sight. Perhaps he was just picking his nose after the race and missed?

Australia track cyclist Shane Perkins last night became the second Australian athlete to flip the finger at Delhi Commonwealth Games officials.

Following Hassene Fkiri’s fingers to the judges when he got frustrated with their rulings, Perkins gave the same ‘digitally enhanced’ gesture to Games cycling officials after he was forced to ride off for seventh to twelfth place in the Keirin.

Shane Perkins was the favourite for the gold medal in the Keirin but was disqualified for dangerous riding in the semi-final which denied him the chance to ride for a medal.

Easily winning the seventh to twelfth ride-off, Perkins let loose with a two-fingered salute in the direction of the judges.

Cycling Australia is set to discipline him for his actions. Sprint coach Gary West said “We are disappointed with what Shane did, and the gesture, and we don’t believe it’s acceptable.” It won’t have gone down too well that Perkins refused to attend post-race press briefings and left Australian team officials to explain his unusual sign language.

While rude gestures to officials is not to be condoned there has to be some sympathy for the athletes. They train for years all with the goal of winning medals for their country at events like the Commonwealth Games and Olympics. To have that dream taken away on a judgement call must be hard to accept.

Perkins is only 23, and while wiser heads would have swallowed hard and taken their medicine it is understandable that emotions might get the better of a younger athlete.

Guys like John McEnroe turned abusing umpires into a career within a career. Hopefully Cycling Australia won’t come down too hard on the Perkins.