KIEV (Reuters) - Top Ukrainian rhythmic gymnastics coach and former world champion Irina Deryugina has been banned from competitions until 2016 for influencing judges and other disciplinary infringements, the sport’s governing body said.
Deryugina won four gold medals and three silvers at world championships from 1977 to 1979 and her school has produced Olympic champions including 1996 all-round winner Ekaterina Serebrianskaya.
Her charges are among Ukraine’s best prospects for August’s Olympics in Beijing.
International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) documents received by Reuters showed she had infringed several points in the code of discipline, including “act(ing) in such a way so as to influence the course or the result of the competitions in an improper way”.
Other charges included unsportsmanlike behavior, acting in an offensive way towards federation members, gymnasts and officials and causing offence on grounds of color, race, handicap, sex, religion or ethnic origin.
“The presidential commission, following a proposal of the disciplinary commission ... has unanimously decided to (prevent) Ms Deryugina from participating in any official FIG event ... valid immediately until the end of the cycle 2013-2016,” a statement on the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) Web site (www.fig-gymnastics.com) said.
Deryugina, once married to Soviet soccer player and former national coach Oleg Blokhin, could not be reached for comment and her school declined to give any further information.
FIG also declined comment on the grounds that Deryugina had 21 days to appeal the decision.
Editing by Sonia Oxley
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