Ireland's O'Leary sails on despite betting probe

WEYMOUTH, England Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:00pm EDT

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WEYMOUTH, England (Reuters) - Irish sailor Peter O'Leary is the subject of an Olympic investigation into an alleged bet he made on a competitor in a previous competition, a source close to the Irish Olympic team confirmed to Reuters on Sunday.

O'Leary, his face largely obscured by a black-hooded top and dark glasses was whisked past waiting reporters in the mixed zone at the Olympic sailing venue at Portland, close to the English seaside town of Weymouth.

The sailor, still wearing his wetsuit, made no comment when asked about the betting probe, after making a strong start in racing in the heavyweight Star class.

However, James O'Callaghan the Irish sailing team's performance director told reporters shortly afterwards: "The issue is sub-judice so we have no comment to make."

O'Leary's crew mate David Burrows, declined to comment on the allegation, which came to light on earlier this week when the International Olympics Committee (IOC) said an unnamed Irish athlete was being investigated by his national committee.

Burrows was, however, willing to talk about the duo's performance on the water in their two-man Star boat.

"It was tricky out there today. It was hard to get the strategy right," Burrows said, adding he was "glad to have the first day over".

O'Leary and Burrows were second in the afternoon's first race behind the French Star crew and recorded a sixth position in the second race. On points, this put the Irish crew in second position behind Brazilian sailing legend Robert Scheidt and his crew Bruno Prada.

O'Leary's Irish National Olympic Committee could expel him from the Games, if they find him guilty of breaking any of their rules regarding gambling.

(Editing by Ossian Shine)

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