Athletics: Controversy over coach Arbeit is 'hurting,' says Lewis

Denise Lewis has two tasks in the Estonian port of Tallinn this weekend. The first, in her first heptathlon since she won the Olympic title in Sydney three years ago, will be to attain the World Championship qualifying total of 6,105 points.

The second task is a more nebulous one for the 30-year-old Olympic champion, who gave birth to a daughter, Lauryn, last spring. As she seeks the performance that will allow her to return to major competition in Paris next month, Lewis will have to put to the back of her mind the controversy which has accompanied the appointment of Dr Ekkart Arbeit, formerly head of East Germany's track and field programme, as one of her technical advisers.

The appointment of a man who has admitted he oversaw a discredited doping regime has been fiercely criticised in some parts of the media, and last weekend Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, called the decision "unwise".

Lewis explained yesterday that she was merely following a routine that has worked in the past by employing first-class advisers to assist her.

"The players may be different now," she said, 'but that network is the same and the aim is the same - to get me to where I want to be, to realise a new dream."

Responding to the media criticism, she added: "I have always lived by the rules. My sport sets them out very clearly and everyone working with me knows them and adheres to them. From the doctors and physios to the coaching team, that does not change.

'My job is hard enough. The heptathlon is seven jobs, really. I am trying to climb back to the top of my mountain, and I cannot understand why they are trying to make my life more difficult than it is. They must know they are hurting, yet they persist."

Her fiercest critics believe the system over which Arbeit had control did too much human damage through its institutionalised doping programme for him to be allowed to work in the sport again, and add that he has been rejected as a coach by both the Australian and French federations.

But Lewis's main coach, Frank Dick, the former British national coach, insisted that Arbeit, who is also in Tallinn, had renounced doping in the past, and begun to take measures to halt it once he took charge.

"He became the head coach in 1988-89," Dick said. "He could not have done anything about the cleaning-up until that point. When he took over he was the man who was leading the programme to stop the doping. The information I have is that that actually happened over those two years."

Dick is confident that Lewis can reach 6,200 points this weekend as she competes for Britain in the Spar European Cup of Combined Events.

"It will be nice to be part of the team and not be in the wilderness," Lewis said. "It's been a long and pretty lonely time. It will be nice to be back competing. Pregnancy is a pit stop. Thousands of women do it and break into their careers. I didn't believe for one second that I could not and would not return to the sport."

Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again say analysts

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

Life and Style
fashion

British supermodel and hitmaker join forces to launch a 'huge song'

Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
News
i100
News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Sport
Fans of Palmeiras looks dejected during the match between Palmeiras and Santos
footballPalmeiras fan killed trying to 'ambush' bus full of opposition supporters
Arts and Entertainment
filmsIt's nearly a wrap on Star Wars: Episode 7, producer reveals
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Lead Teacher of Thinking School Drive Team and Year 3 Form teacher

Competitive: Notting Hill Prep School: Spring Term 2015 Innovative, ambitious ...

Operations Data Analyst - London - up to £25,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Operations Data Analyst -...

Programmatic Business Development Manager

£35 - £40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: As the Programmatic Business Develo...

Year 5 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is currently recruitin...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past