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Touretski Pleads Not Guilty to Steroid Charge -- May 3, 2001

CANBERRA, May 3. AUSTRALIAN swim coach Gennadi Touretski pleaded not guilty to possessing the banned anabolic steroid Stanozolol in a brief Canberra court hearing on today.

The court adjourned the case until a date between October 15 -18, but the former Russian coach's lawyers requested a meeting with prosecutors on July 26.

Lawyer Jason Parkinson said Touretski, 51, was optimistic about the case but was "very concerned about being away from the pool."

"Mr. Touretski looks forward to defending the charge --he has entered a plea of not guilty -- and having the matter determined and finalized," Parkinson told reporters outside the court.

"Then he can go back to doing what he does best and that's training champion swimmers," he said.

Magistrate John Burns said bail was not required.

Touretski, who coaches Olympic gold medallists Michael Klim and Alexander Popov, has been suspended on full pay pending the outcome of the case and an investigation by Australian swimming officials.

Popov has defended his coach, saying he has never had reason to question Touretski's ethics in an 11-year association which included his winning the 50m and 100m freestyle double at both the 1992 and 1996 Olympics.

However, some athletes and officials fear Australia's largely clean image may be tarnished regardless of the outcome of the case.

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