Rowing: Oarsmen to decide coach's future

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The Independent Online

THE FATE of Jurgen Grobler as chief coach of the British men's team lies in the hands of Steve Redgrave and other leading British oarsman.

Despite allegations that Grobler was a key figure in the doping of East German rowers in the 1970s and '80s, he has earned the respect and trust of the British team who he inspired to a record eight medals at last year's World Championships in France.

Redgrave and his partner, Matthew Pinsent, while unavailable for comment yesterday, are both believed to be backing their coach.

"We are going to have an in-house meeting with athletes and other officers of the association and base any decision on their views," said the Amateur Association chairman, Martin Brando Bravo.

"We have a clean, drugs-free sport in this country. This issue is ruining our good work."

The allegations that Grobler, who also acts as Redgrave's personal coach alongside his duties to the British team, first surfaced last weekend.

Grobler, 51, spent nearly 20 years as a coach to East Germany's dominant men's and women's teams.

So far he has refused to confirm or deny the allegations and was unavailable for comment yesterday.