Weightlifting Wrexham fan butted over a woman


Rory Sheehan

A COMMONWEALTH Games weightlifter and Wrexham FC fan was the victim of a headbutt by a fellow athlete.

The assault took place in Glasgow in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Gareth Evans, 28, describes himself in his Twitter biography as a ‘lover of Wrexham FC’ and is well known for being a keen follower of the Reds. He also represented Wales at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

The assault followed an earlier verbal exchange between Mr Evans and Francois Etoundi relating to Mr Evans’ athlete girlfriend.

Yesterday, Sheriff Andrew Cubie told Glasgow Sheriff Court that Etoundi, 29, had “brought the law of the playground” into the Commonwealh Games athletes’ village and such behaviour “undermines the concept of the Friendly Games”.

The court heard the assault had taken place at 5.30am, after Mr Evans, a painter and decorator from Holyhead, left the athletes’ dining room with a Team England weightlifter.

This followed a verbal altercation at about 4.45am during which Mr Evans ignored Etoundi, the court was told.

David Hunter, defending Etoundi, said he had gone to the dining room and was being congratulated on his bronze medal success by other athletes including a female athlete – Mr Evans’ girlfriend – who “took hold of him”.

“He (Mr Evans) was not impressed and words were exchanged."”

The court was told Mr Evans suffered a fracture to his nose after the headbutt and was prescribed painkillers and given minor head injury advice.

Etoundi was ordered to pay £400 compensation to Evans after admitting the headbutt at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

Mr Hunter said Etoundi, who is originally from Cameroon, was “bitterly bitterly disappointed”.

His Commonwealth Games accreditation had been revoked, meaning he would not be able to take part in any further games activities, including the closing ceremony on Sunday, which was a “major disappointment” to him.

The Australian Commonwealth Games Association is making arrangements for Etoundi to fly home as soon as possible, he added.

The weightlifter is also facing the disciplinary process of the sport’s governing body in his home country.

Mr Hunter added: “The gloss of winning the medal has been removed.”

Sheriff Cubie said: "I sense from Mr Hunter you yourself are disappointed in your conduct, as you should be.

“Your behaviour undermines the concept of the Friendly Games which we are so proud to have here in Glasgow.

“Many people don’t have the skills or opportunities or support network that you have, and yet you have chosen to bring the law of the playground into Commonwealth Games village – falling out with someone over a girl.”

See full story in the Leader

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