Demonstrator barred from London marathon

A charity has revoked its London Marathon invite to a man who disrupted the marathon at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The former Irish priest who dramatically disrupted the closing stages of the 2004 Athens Olympic marathon has been barred from running in next month's London Marathon.

Neil Horan, 66, had been accepted to run in the London event on behalf of the St John's Ambulance charity, having promised to atone for his most notorious act of sporting disruption.

That came when he ran out on to the course and grabbed hold of Vanderlei de Lima in Athens a decade ago in an act that almost certainly cost the Brazilian distance runner a gold medal.

However, his hopes of completing an "act of redemption" in London were dashed when charity chiefs withdrew their offer of a place in the line-up having discovered his history of interfering in major sporting events and "extremist religious views".

In a letter quoted by Ireland's Sunday Independent newspaper, Tegan Jones, head of fundraising for St John Ambulance, a voluntary first-aid charity, wrote: "As you are aware you have been offered a place in the Virgin Money London Marathon 2014 event with St John Ambulance.

"It has been brought to our attention that you have a history of disrupting major sporting events and hold extremist religious views which are not in line with St John Ambulance charity's values.

"Due to the above reasons we have no option but to retract this offer and to remove you from the London Marathon 2014 team with St John Ambulance."

Jones also promised to refund Horan's STG100 ($A183.47) registration fee, but instructed him to return any sponsorship money he had collected to the donors.

He added: "I trust that you understand and respect the difficult decision that we have made."

Horan, who in 2003 was nearly killed after running on the track during Formula One's British Grand Prix, told the Sunday Independent he was frustrated by the charity's decision to exclude him from the London Marathon.

"It's nearly 10 years now since I disrupted a sporting event and I've said many times that I will never do anything like that again. I'm extremely upset at this decision."

Source AAP

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