Athletics: Dick backs Lewis for using 'perfect' Arbeit

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The Independent Online

Denise Lewis' head coach Frank Dick has launched a staunch defence of her controversial decision to use Dr Ekkart Arbeit as a throwing coach.

Dick claims the East German is "perfect" for the role and that "no-one on the planet matches his abilities" to help the Olympic heptathlon champion defend her title in Athens next year. However, Arbeit is a former coach to the East German team and the man held responsible for the state-sponsored doping programme.

"I look at someone's skills first and didn't consider for a moment judging someone's history from about 15 years ago," Dick said. "My role is to make sure an athlete has access to the very best expertise in all areas. Looking at the package of skills and knowledge that came with Ekkart as a throwing coach, he was perfect.

"It was a bargain to get so much wrapped up in one person," he added. "No one on the planet matches his abilities.

"The German Democratic Republic was a cynical drugs culture," Dick admitted. "However since the Berlin Wall came down the individuals I know have emerged from the goldfish bowl existence and unequivocally condemned what they did in the past."

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