Brazil drops swimming coach Volkers at Australia's request

Wed May 18, 2016 10:23am EDT
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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The Brazilian Olympic Committee will exclude Australian swimming coach Scott Volkers from Brazil's team at the Rio Olympics in August at the request of Australia, where he faced child sexual abuse charges a decade ago, a committee official said on Wednesday.

"Volkers will not be accredited," committee spokesman Daniel Varsano said.

The Australian Olympic Committee last week asked Brazilian Olympic Committee President Carlos Nuzman to exclude Scott, who now coaches Brazilian swimmers, due to allegations that he sexually abused young Australian swimmers in the 1980s and 1990s.

Volkers, 57, was arrested in Australia in 2002 on charges of indecent behavior with a minor. The charges were dropped for lack of evidence but he was banned from working with children under age 16. He has denied the allegations against him.Volkers moved to Brazil in 2011 and became the swimming coach at the Minas Tennis Club in Belo Horizonte, which has produced some of Brazil's best swimmers.

Among those he has coached is Brazil's top swimmer and only Olympic gold medalist in swimming, Cesar Cielo, who won the 50-meter freestyle gold medal in Beijing in 2008 and bronze in London in 2012.

Volkers gained fame for coaching two of Australia's top swimmers, Samantha Riley and Susie O'Neill.

A spokesman for the Minas Tennis Club said Volkers had been advised by his lawyers not to comment on his exclusion from the Brazilian swimming team.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Will Dunham)

A general view of the swimming pool of Pinheiros club, where the Chinese Olympic team will be training before the Rio Olympics, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, February 1, 2016.  REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker