Bitang also quit amid allegations

Updated: February 3, 2005, 4:54 PM ET
Reuters

BUCHAREST, Romania -- The Romanian Gymnastics Federation (FRG) has decided to keep the position of women's head coach vacant in the hope that Octavian Belu changes his mind about resigning.

Belu and Mariana Bitang quit their positions last week after 2002 world silver medalist Oana Petrovschi claimed they asked for money from her prizes and forced her to compete despite an injured back. She sued them for over $51,000 in damages.

"Belu's place as the main head of Romanian women's gymnastics is wide open and so it will remain," FRG general secretary Adrian Stoica said on Thursday. "We are willing to wait for Belu even until 2007 if he needs so much time to resolve his personal problems.

"The FRG also made a proposal to Bitang to resume her activity as soon as possible. She asked for some time to think about it. The FRG hopes that Belu and Bitang return to work with us," Stoica said.

Stoica said the gymnasts would continue training under deputy coaches at the Olympic center of Deva and in Bucharest and Onesti.

He added that triple 2004 Olympic champion Catalina Ponor, who earlier this week threatened to retire unless Belu and Bitang changed their minds, will soon resume training.

ALSO SEE