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Swiss-Ski dump women's trainer

Pieren is leaving his post after two years as coach of the women's team

(Keystone)

The Swiss skiing association Swiss-Ski has decided not to renew the contract of women's trainer, Hans Pieren, when his term runs out at the end of this season.

The association said that differences of opinion in regards to management style had been among the reasons for Pieren's dismissal.

Pieren said the news had surprised and disappointed him.

"I think that we have worked well during the past two years," he insisted. "I was motivated to continue for at least another two years, up until the world championships in St Moritz.

The 39-year-old coach added that he couldn't understand the reasons given for his sacking.

"There has never been any problem with the team," he argued. "I have a personal style in the way I lead that's friendly and non-authoritative - but it works."

Results from the recent world championships in St Moritz would suggest that Pieren's dismissal was purely based on a clash of personalities within the association. While the women's team returned from Austria with only one medal (Sonja Nef's giant slalom gold), their efforts also led to three fourth-place finishes.

The men's team fared only slightly better in the medal stakes, winning a gold through Michael von Grünigen and a bronze thanks to Paul Accola. But the fate of the two teams' coaches could hardly have been more different. While Pieren was shown the door, men's coach Dieter Bartsch was given a two-year extension to his contract.

Pieren will be replaced by Philippe Chevalier, who has himself been involved in training the association's coaches for the past 13 years. Chevalier also has previous experience of coaching the country's women skiers.

The 53-year-old trainer was responsible for the women's slalom and giant slalom skiers from 1976 until 1988, a period which included some highly successful performances at the Crans-Montana world championships and the Calgary Olympics.

swissinfo with agencies


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