Friday, 21 September 2018

When rabbit was allowed to live at Leander

JURGEN GROBLER, the hugely successful coach of Britain’s rowing squad, has a reputation for being a

JURGEN GROBLER, the hugely successful coach of Britain’s rowing squad, has a reputation for being a man of few words, writes Robert Treharne Jones.

However, he spoke for more than an hour during a frank and illuminating talk about his life to a capacity audience at Leander Club.

Grobler, the most successful Olympic coach ever, talked about his arrival in the UK from East Germany, having being recruited by the Henley club following the collapse of the Berlin Wall. He gave special thanks to the club for its hospitality during the difficult early days for himself and his family, all of whom lived at Leander while they found their feet in their new country.

Apparently there was some consternation when Grobler’s young son demanded to keep a pet rabbit and the coach had to approach the committee for the necessary permission. He recalled: “They said that was okay so long as he wasn’t left to run around the club.”



Never big enough to row at the top level himself, Grobler switched to coaching. He has gone on to coach 10 Olympic gold medal crews since 1976.

One of the athletes Grobler inherited in the GB squad when he arrived was a certain Steve Redgrave.

He joked: “Steve already had two Olympic gold medals, so I thought maybe he was on the way down!”



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