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Aussie head coach sacked

Melbourne: Australia’s head men’s coach Brian Sutton has been withdrawn from the world swimming championships for disciplinary reasons, Swimming Australia (SA) said on Monday.

The 1996 and 2000 Olympic coach arrived a day late to the team’s training camp in Germany last week, the SA said in a statement.

The 41-year-old had applied for permission on compassionate grounds to join the camp in Sindelfingen two days after the rest of the team arrived on July 6.

“When he did not join the team on Tuesday, Australian Swimming had to consider Brian’s position on the team as a head coach and as a personal coach,” SA chief executive Glenn Tasker said.

“We gave Brian the time he requested but we expected him to join the team on Tuesday but he failed to make that commitment. Subsequently Brian’s position on the 2003 World Championships team has been withdrawn.”

Australia’s head women’s coach Scott Volkers has taken responsibility for both teams in Barcelona where the major action in the pool starts on Sunday.

Sutton arrived at the camp last Wednesday.

“I made a choice and I am not losing any sleep over it,” Sutton was quoted as saying in The Australian newspaper on Monday.

Australia won 13 gold medals, including six by Ian Thorpe, at the last world championships in Fukuoka, Japan in 2001 to top the gold medal count.

Sautin adds to gold

Meanwhile, on Sunday Russian diving great Dmitry Sautin added to his medal collection at the world championships in Barcelona by winning the men’s synchronised three-metre platform with Alexander Dobroskok. Sautin earned a total of 369.18 points with his partner.

It was enough to see off the challenge of China’s Wang Tianling and Wang Feng (343.29 points) and German pair Andreas Wels and Tobias Schellenberg (334.44).

The Russians had been leading after the preliminaries and Sautinmade sure of a winning return.

The Chinese divers, who won four out of the five men’s gold medals at the Fukuoka world championships two years ago, were back in top level competition after missing the final legs of the 2003 Grand Prix due to the SARS outbreak.

China’s women divers took the 10m final, with Lao Lishi and Li Ting rattling up 344.58 points to beat Australia’s Loudy Tourky and Lynda Dackiw (323.34pts).

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