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Former water polo gold medallist found dead

Written by: Staff
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MADRID, Mar 11 (Reuters) Spain's Olympic water polo champion Jesus Rollan was found dead in a town near Barcelona today, Catalan regional police said.

Rollan, who was 37, was regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the sport and was in the Spanish team that won gold at the Atlanta Games in 1996 and at the world championships in 1998 and 2001.

He took part in five Olympics, retiring after the Athens Games in 2004. He also won a silver medal in Barcelona in 1992.

Spanish media said the 37-year-old had died at a spa hotel in the town of La Garriga. The cause of death was unknown.

The president of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE), Alejandro Blanco, said Rollan had been receiving medical treatment and hinted Rollan may have taken his own life.

''He was an exceptional sportsman and an exceptional person who had a problem at a particular time and was unable to get over it,'' Blanco told Spanish state radio.

''For me it is a very difficult day because I took part in the decision to help him and the decision that Jesus has taken has left a big hole in our lives.

''I want to remember the sportsman, the big kid who came to see me saying he needed help and the fact that we did all we could to help him. He will always be in my thoughts.'' The Spanish waterpolo league suspended this weekend's league matches in memory of Rollan.

REUTERS KD VC2350

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