An Argentinian television ad showing an Olympic hopeful training on a British war memorial in the Falklands has been branded a "stunt" by foreign secretary William Hague. ITN reports.
Argentina's Olympic Committee is distancing itself from a television ad that has sparked a dispute with Britain ahead of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.
Britain demanded an apology from Argentina over the controversial 90-second ad, aired on Argentine television last week, showing an athlete training in the Falkland Islands, the British territory in the south Atlantic to which Buenos Aires lays claim.
Set to stirring music, the ad shows Argentine field hockey captain Fernando Zylberberg training for the games by running through the islands' capital of Stanley, passing by British symbols such as a red telephone booth. When Zylberberg reaches the memorial to British sailors who died in the war, he is seen doing step-ups on it.
The ad concludes with the provocative slogan, "To compete on English soil, we train on Argentine soil."
“Desecrating a war memorial, using it as a cheap prop in a very tawdry little advert, I think that just says so much about the way that [Argentine President Cristina] Fernández de Kirchner is conducting her business,” Falklands War veteran Simon Weston told ITN.
The ad was made and released by the Argentine government, led by President Fernández de Kirchner, who is attempting to rally international opinion behind her country's claim to the islands.
London has controlled the islands since 1833. Argentina has long claimed the territory, saying it inherited it from Spain on independence and that Britain expelled an Argentine population from the islands.
Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague told ITN Argentina was misusing the Olympics for political gain.
“I think they are now resorting to one or two stunts, I don’t think they will win any support for that," Hague said. "Any attempt to misuse the Olympic Games for political purposes isn’t going to go down well anywhere in the world.”
The Falkland Islands sports council told ITN it planned to complain about the ad to the International Olympic Committee.
"It’s caused a lot of reaction here because of the athlete doing step-ups on the war memorial, and that pretty disrespectful,” Mike Summers, chair of Falklands Nation Sports Council told ITN.
The IOC later sent a letter to Argentina's national Olympic committee denouncing the ad.
The Argentine national Olympic committee responded in a statement released on Tuesday: "The Argentine National Olympic Committee is fully committed to the Olympic charter and the best practices of the Olympic movement. We strongly believe the Olympic Games are not a platform for politics and we have communicated this position to the International Olympic Committee."
ITN and Reuters contributed to this report.
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