21 Feb 2010

Funeral held for Olympic luge competitor

11:53 am on 21 February 2010

The Georgian luge competitor who was killed last weekend at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver has been buried in his home town.

Thousands of mourners, including President Mikheil Saakashvili, attended the funeral of 21-year-old Nodar Kumaritashvili.

He died in an accident while he was on a training run, hours before the opening ceremony of the Games.

The sportsman was carried through the streets in an open coffin, with his body wrapped in the Georgian flag.

His death has sparked debate over the safety of the Whistler track, built at a cost of $US100 million to be the fastest in the world.

The Games organisers and the International Luge Federation (FIL) blamed the accident on a misjudgement by the luger, but then raised the barrier at the fatal curve and shortened the track to reduce speed.

Kumaritashvili's coach and uncle, Felix, said his view of the track had been impeded by shades erected by organisers.

The FIL on Thursday promised a review, to be completed by the end of March.