clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Outgames 2009: Bombs injure track athlete at stadium

By Jim Buzinski

A member of the Seattle Frontrunners was injuredfrom shrapnel when an explosive device was thrown onto the track during competition at the World Outgames in Copenhagen.

bombings300
Dean Koga of Seattle is treated on the stadium infield following a bombing prior to the start of the 4x200 relay.This photo was taken by Keith Little and Sam Felker, Nashville athletes who are blogging about the Outgames.

Dean Koga’s right hand was injured and he required stitches after the bomb, believed to be a small incindinary device, exploded right before the start of the men’s 4x200 relay at Osterbro Stadium, according to eyewitness reports. Two athletes from Nashville, Keith Little and Sam Felker, wrote about the incident on their blog:

"The camaraderie of the Outgames was temporarily broken this afternoon when unknown assailants tossed two explosive devices onto the track during the start of a relay. One runner who was in a starting position near the explosions sustained a minor injury to his hand and was treated at the scene by paramedics. The large crowd of athletes and spectators was stunned by what can only be described as a hate crime attack. Competition resumed after consulting with the athletes who were determined not to let this incident succeed in stopping the Outgames. Police were called to the scene and were searching the premises when two more devices exploded on the track. Shortly thereafter the police arrested a suspect who was seen fleeing from a nearby church tower where it is believed the attack was launched. Police are still searching for a second suspect.

We are all stunned by this turn of events. Locals tell us that Denmark, which is known world wide for its openness and diversity, has been plagued recently by increased hate crimes and violence aimed at gays and lesbians. Of course, we are also determined that this will not stop or spoil the Outgames."

I was at the track stadium until shortly after noon and left perhaps less than an hour before the attack to attend other events. The facility had a modest crowd Tuesday and the biggest contingent of track athletes was from the Seattle Frontrunners.

According to reports, “another explosion rocked the stadium less than an hour after the first bomb, another explosion rocked the stadium and a man was seen fleeing a nearby church building, believed to be the site where the bombs were thrown from. Police said they apprehended a 31-year-old Danish man and were looking for a second suspect.”

After a 90-minute suspension, the athletes agreed to continue the competition, saying to cancel the event would be to give in to hate. Koga was said to be determined to run in the relay on Wednesday.

"This is a reprehensible incident," Seattle FrontRunners’ Kelly Stevens was quoted as saying. "This is horrible news. I am sickened. It shows that even in what appears to be the safest gay-friendly areas, we still face risks. The gay sports movement and the gay rights movement are not done."

This attack comes days after three men were hurt when they were assaulted on the streets after the Opening Ceremonies in central Copenhagen. These incidents are even more shocking as they come in what is considered one of the most gay-tolerant places on Earth.