Hungary apologizes for athlete's offensive social media post

2019-12-05 09:46:25China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The Hungarian National Skating Federation has apologized after one of its athletes made an insulting remark about China that prompted the team's Chinese coach to resign.

Olympic champion short-track speed skater Csaba Burjan is facing disciplinary action for the offending social media post, the Hungarian governing body said on Tuesday.

Burjan, a member of Hungary's men's 5,000m relay gold-winning team at the 2018 Winter Olympics, is alleged to have used foul language to curse China in an Instagram post that featured a picture of people waiting to pass through a passport check at Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

The short-track team's Chinese coach, Zhang Jing, was so incensed by the comment that she immediately offered her resignation.

Burjan, who later deleted the post, had traveled with teammates from Japan to the Chinese city to compete at this week's Shanghai leg of the International Skating Union World Cup series.

"As a result of Burjan's insulting behavior to China, Zhang, head coach of the Hungarian national short-track team submitted her resignation," read a statement from the Hungarian federation's website on Tuesday.

"The council of the federation apologizes for the attitude, which is completely unacceptable from a national athlete.

"The council decided that, as per the request of the team manager, a disciplinary proceeding will start against Burjan. The result of the proceeding will be communicated to the public."

However, Zhang, known as Lina in Hungary, is not likely to leave the post she took over in 2012 anytime soon after the Hungarian federation said her resignation was not accepted.

The statement added that team manager Akos Banhidi has dropped Burjan from the team for the Shanghai meet, which runs from Friday to Sunday.

Burjan also offered his apologies in a Tuesday social media post, which read: "Deeply sorry for yesterday's post. Was tired after a long trip ... didn't mean it. Hope everybody understands. Sorry again".

Zhang initially announced her resignation on her WeChat account, stating that she was astounded and outraged by Burjan's inappropriate comments.

"I can't tolerate a Hungarian skater, especially a Hungarian Olympic champion making such offensive comments against China," Zhang told Shanghai-based news outlet The Paper on Tuesday.

When asked if she might reverse her resignation decision, Zhang replied: "There is no doubt that they won't let me leave, but my future will depend on their attitude on how to resolve the incident."

A former Chinese national team skater who represented her country at the 1994 Winter Olympics (Lillehammer, Norway), Zhang has seen her coaching career flourish after moving to Hungary.

She has helped the European nation win over 150 short-track medals, including its first Winter Games gold (5,000m relay) claimed by Burjan, Viktor Knoch and Chinese-Hungarian brothers Sandor Liu Shaolin and Liu Shao'ang.

In recognition of her efforts at the 2018 Winter Olympics, Hungarian President Janos Ader invited Zhang and the team to the presidential palace in Budapest for a celebration banquet.

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