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Georgian luger's father questions track

By Margarita Antidze

TBILISI (Reuters) - The father of a Georgian luger who died at the Vancouver Olympics after crashing in a training run questioned on Sunday the quality of the track and said he could not bear to watch video of his son's death.

In televised comments from the family home in the Georgian winter resort town of Bakuriani, David Kumaritashvili said he had not seen video of his son Nodar's death that has been broadcast around the world.

"I haven't seen it, and I don't want to see it," said the father. "I don't want to see how he crashed."

Nodar Kumaritashvili, 21, was killed at the Whistler Sliding Center on Friday hours before the opening ceremony at the Olympics, when he lost control at high speed toward the end of his run and was launched over the rim into an unpadded pillar.

Bakuriani was in mourning. The annual celebration of the town, due on February 22, was canceled, and Kumaritashvili was expected to be buried there early in the week.

Organizers of the Olympics said the death was the result of human error.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who is at the Games, appeared to question the findings of the official investigation, telling a news conference on Saturday: "With all due respect ... one thing I know for sure is that no sports mistake is supposed to lead to death."

The father, himself a former luger, also questioned the quality of the track.

"They say the track wasn't built properly, that he was going about 150kph (93 miles) per hour and couldn't control his sled on the curve," he said, without specifying who had commented on the quality of the track.

The International Luge Federation (FIL) and Games organizers VANOC said the track was safe, but nevertheless made alterations before the competition in light of the tragic death.

Saakashvili said on Saturday that Georgia would build a sliding center and name it after Kumaritashvili.

(Writing by Matt Robinson; editing by Miles Evans)