A man accused of throwing a plastic bottle on to the Olympic track seconds before the start of the men's 100-metre final pleaded not guilty yesterday to creating a public nuisance.
Ashley Gill-Webb, looking tired and wearing a white T-shirt, said he was "not guilty" during his brief appearance at Stratford Magistrates Court. He was granted conditional bail with trial set for early September.
Prosecutors asked that Gill-Webb, 34, of Leeds in northern England, be banned from any Olympic venue and the entire Olympic Park for the duration of the games. In addition to throwing the bottle, he was charged with using threatening words, disorderly behaviour, and harassment.
The showcase event, won by Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, was not disrupted Sunday night, but Olympic officials yesterday sharply criticised the suspect.
Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London organising committee, said there would be "zero tolerance" for anti-social behaviour.
"Throwing a bottle on to the field of play is unacceptable, it's not just unacceptable at an Olympics Games but at any sporting event and anybody who does that will be removed," he said.
Coe said there was some "poetic justice" involved because the suspect had been sitting next to a judo star who hit him after he allegedly threw the bottle Sunday night. Coe cautioned, however, that he was not supporting a vigilante response.