21 JAN 2007 General News Bucharest, Romania

Cioncan, Olympic 1500m bronze medallist, killed in car accident

Romanian 1500 metre runner Maria Cioncan has been killed in a car accident, her coach has confirmed.

The 29-year-old, who won the bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics Games, was returning from a training camp when the accident happened in Bulgaria on Sunday (21) morning.

Cioncan's coach, Stefan Beregszaszy, was travelling in a separate car which was not involved in the accident, although he confirmed the news soon after.

"I can't say anything. I don't know where I am, I don't know what has happened," he said.

"I just know just that Maria is dead and I was in another car and I couldn't help her. Nobody can help me now with anything. I don't even know where I am at this moment."

Cioncan was the Romanian national champion at both 800m and 1500m, with her bronze medal in Athens three years ago the highlight of her career.

Press Association for the IAAF