Gibilisco ponders pullout over absent coach

Italy's Giuseppe Gibilisco competes in the pole vault final at the European athletics championships in Gothenburg (Goteborg) August 13, 2006. REUTERS/Yves Herman

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s former pole vault world champion Giuseppe Gibilisco has threatened to pull out of the Beijing Olympics because his coach has spent too much time with Yelena Isinbayeva.

Gibilisco, who was cleared of doping accusations in May after a long battle, shared coach Vitaly Petrov with the women’s world and Olympic champion.

However, the 29-year-old said he was behind in his preparation because Petrov had been going to various meetings around the world with the Russian.

“I was working together with Isinbayeva and everything was going well but I did not expect Petrov to go away and not return,” Gibilisco, who won bronze in Athens four years ago, told Tuesday’s Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Now I have asked Italy coach Nicola Silvaggi to find a solution as the Games are soon here and I have even thought of pulling out. At this moment I’m behind in my preparation. I don’t want to go to Beijing just to make up the numbers.”

Gibilisco won gold at the 2003 world championships in Paris.

Writing by Mark Meadows; Editing by John O’Brien