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Greek triple jumper Papachristou has grant suspended

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou has had her financial benefits suspended by the Greek athletics federation (SEGAS) until further notice, the organization said on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old was withdrawn from Greece's team for the London Olympics last July after posting a racist tweet and has yet to return to top-level competition.

"The SEGAS executive board met today and decided to suspend the benefits of the athlete Voula Papachristou from 01/04/2013 because of improper preparation and abstinence from competing," said SEGAS in a statement on its website (www.segas.gr).

"The suspension will last until the athlete joins up with a coach who will have the approval of the federation and will resume high-level competition."

Speaking to Reuters earlier this year, Papachristou said she was planning to take some time out in order to get over the controversy and get in top shape for the outdoor season.

The athlete, a popular figure in Greece, is the national champion and was picked out as one of five athletes in the team to front an advertising campaign during the build-up to the London Olympics.

She was pulled from the team by the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) who said her comment on Twitter was against the Olympic spirit.

Papachristou later apologized for the "unfortunate and tasteless joke" which she said did not reflect her beliefs.

(Reporting by Graham Wood; Editing By Alison Wildey)

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