Ex-East German trainers admit organised doping
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Five former East-German trainers have admitted they participated in a huge state-supported doping system before the fall of the Berlin wall. The historic admonition of guilt has been widely welcomed in Germany.
REUTERS - Five leading German athletics coaches, who were formerly part of the East German system, have admitted their past involvement in doping, German sports officials said on Monday.
Long jump coach Rainer Pottel, discus coach Gerhard Boetcher, javelin coach Maria Ritschel, shot put coach Klaus Schneider and heptathlon coach Klaus Baarck have signed a German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB) declaration admitting to past doping offences.
The DOSB said it was the first time coaches still active in the German athletics federation (DLV) had accepted past doping offences, shown remorse and offered their victims an apology.
"(Since 1991) these coaches have actively been engaged for a doping-free sport and have not been touched by any other blame since," DLV head Clemens Prokop said in a joint statement with the DOSB.
East Germany had a notorious state-supported doping programme for athletes which helped them win hundreds of medals at the summer and winter Olympic Games.
The coaches said since the reunification of the two Germanys in 1990 they had not committed any doping offences.
"We are very affected by, and extremely regretful if, athletes may have damaged their health through the use of drugs," the coaches said in the declaration.
"It is the first time that five top coaches admit their doping past," Prokop said. "It does not replace the detailed examination of doping in east and west before 1990... but it is an important and right step."
He said the coaches would continue working for the DLV.
Germany is still investigating the doping past in both east and west up to reunification, while many former East German athletes have been officially recognised as doping victims and received compensation.
Coaches have also been removed from their state positions after initially denying any involvement in the doping programme until later exposed by former athletes or the media.
An estimated 8,000-9,000 athletes were on the doping programme from 1972-1989.
In the Olympic Games from 1972 to 1988, despite a boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Games, East Germany won 384 medals. It was second in the medals table in three of the four Games in which it took part.