Pankratov To Miss Worlds

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – 1996 Olympic gold medalist Denis Pankratov will miss the 1998 World Championships after his dramatic failure to defend his European titles last August.

Sergei Kolmogorov, chief scientist at the Russian’s home club in Volgograd, told Reuters by telephone that Pankratov would fly to Florida on January 6 to train while the World Championships were in progress in Perth, Australia.

Pankratov’s coach, Viktor Avdeyenko, agreed that he should take a break from competition after a poor showing at the European Championships. Pankratov finished a surprising sixth in 100m butterfly and failed to make the final of the 200m butterfly at the 1997 European Championships.

“His physical condition is OK at the moment, he resumed training about a month ago,” Kolmogorov said. “This was a joint decision by Avdeyenko and Pankratov. Their long-term goal is getting ready for the Sydney Olympics.”

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