Rowing: Grobler for chief coach

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The Independent Online
JURGEN GROBLER, coach since 1991 to Britain's gold medal pair, Matthew Pinsent and Steven Redgrave, has been offered the post of chief coach to the whole men's squad. Grobler has not yet seen a contract, but wishes to accept if he can agree terms. He came to Britain from the former east Germany after a stunningly successful career when his crews won nine gold medals at the 1976, 1980 and 1988 Olympics.

He has been chief coach at the Leander Club, in Henley, which is one of the main training centres for international oarsmen. He will, in his new role, be obliged to encourage other training centres and to develop international coaches to take the crews which he will have to form, and later select for the team. He will be the final arbiter in team selection.

He has immense experience in this role, but the approach and circumstances of athletes here differ from those of his German charges. There were some who complained in the past season that his training programme, with its emphasis on long-distance endurance work, was too boring to sustain for the full four-year Olympic cycle. This strain was exacerbated by the need to give up paid work in order to put in the time on the water.

In the absence of a major sponsor it is possible that Grobler will have only a small squad. But, provided he can win round the Searle brothers, who won the coxed pairs at the Olympics, he has the strongest nucleus of any team and a host of powerful junior champions waiting to graduate.