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17 Jun, 2008 11:01

Delay over threat to ban Russian gymnast coach from Olympics

A decision on the fate of Irina Viner, the celebrated Russian gymnastics coach who faces suspension from the Beijing Olympics, has been delayed until next month.

The head of Russia’s Olympic rhythmic gymnastics team has been accused of breaking the International Gymnastics Federation's disciplinary code.

The Federation (FIG) has not released details of its case, but if found guilty Viner could be banned from leading Russian athletes at this year’s Olympic Games.

A judgement had been expected imminently but now the governing body says it will reveal its  decision on July 10.

Just before the hearing in Lausanne the Russian coach seemed calm and unruffled.

“My position is normal, I'll answer whatever they will ask me,” stated Viner.

In the meantime, exactly what Viner is accused of remains a mystery.

“They explained what they had against me. I explained my position. And I think they accepted it – let’s hope so. I'll describe everything in detail when a decision is taken,” she said.

In April, the Ukrainian coach was disqualified for eight years on similar charges.

The Gymnastic Federation officials are quick to point out the two cases aren't related.

Former Russian champions have suggested that the investigation is aimed at weakening the team before this summer's Olympics. 

Irina Viner is now back in Russia to continue work with her team.