Athletics: Drechsler makes demands: Germans issue ultimatum on payments to federation

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The Independent Online
THE German Olympic champions Heike Drechsler and Dieter Baumann have threatened to withdraw from the World Cup unless they receive substantial payments from their federation.

After winning their events in last weekend's European Cup in Birmingham and helping the German men's and women's teams to qualify for the World Cup in London in September, Drechsler and Baumann presented the federation with an ultimatum.

'That was the last time I run in such an event without some financial concessions by the German Athletics Federation,' Baumann, the Olympic 5,000 metres champion, said. 'If the DLV comes up with some ideas, I might make myself available in London,' Drechsler, the Olympic and world long jump champion, said.

Until now, athletes competing for Germany have had their expenses paid but have relied on commercial events for their main income. A spokesman for the DLV said that the federation was holding talks with government officials to find funds.

'It has been a matter of discussion for some time, with many athletes expressing a desire for payment,' the spokesman said. 'To suddenly come out with this at the European Cup using such top-ranking athletes seems a bid to put pressure on us.'.

The DLV has promised to pass on to the athletes the dollars 1,000 ( pounds 675) per World Cup competitor which it will receive from the International Amateur Athletic Federation.

Qinfei Wang and Wei Jan will run the 1,500 metres in Linz, Austria, on Monday in the first appearance by Chinese women on the European circuit this year. Qinfei was a member of Ma Junren's world record breaking group until she left last year while Wei finished 10th in last year's World Championships.