Osaka: Dr Arbeit's influence


South Africa’s hopes of getting their three hurdling musketeers into the final of the 400m hurdles were dashed in a 30 minute nail-biting epic at the World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan, on Saturday.

The biggest shock came in the first heat when LJ van Zyl failed to recognise the standard of his first round competition.

A distraught van Zyl summed it up: “After the fifth hurdle I passed the American (Williams) and started to ease down then four guys passed me and I am out of the final. What can I say? Yeah, lessons learnt.”

Right from the blocks he lacked his usual snap, and adopted the abnormal tactic of accelerating along the back straight to come off the bend in third. Even when he realised things were amiss, his dip for the line was mistimed, allowing both Poland’s Marak Plawgo and China’s Yan Meng to take third and fourth, and leaving the hapless Tukkies man in search of qualification as one of four fastest losers.

It went from bad to worse in the second heat with Alwyn Myburgh being forced out on the back straight with a recurrence of his groin injury.

A fast third heat led home by Jamaican Danny McFarlane in 48.91 pulled Russian Alexandr Derevyagin and Japan’s Dai Tamesue under 49.71 placing them fifth and sixth and securing their qualifying places ahead of van Zyl.

De Villiers’ fourth heat was cut to seven athletes by the withdrawal of Ali Obaid Shirook and the tension was turned up a notch when the South African false started.

On the second time of calling Canadian Adam Kunkel won the heat, with Greek Periklis Iakovasis in second and de Villiers safely tucked in third. However one more place was etched from van Zyl’s life line leaving one heat and one place in contention.

A season’s best 48.70 by Olympic Champion Felix Sanchez saw Mali’s Ibahim Maiga earn a fifth placed 49.55 shutting the door on van Zyl’s aspirations and leaving only de Villiers to carry South Africa’s hopes into Sunday night’s semifinals.

“We always take each race as it comes… My biggest race is tomorrow night and I know I will have to run a PB to get into the final, - that’s my goal,” said De Villiers.

Six of the World’s current top 10 remain in the competition and with Bershawn Jackson, Sanchez and Iakovakis drawn alongside de Villiers in the second of three semi-finals his work is cut out for him.

“If you cant come out and perform you don’t belong in the semifinals, it was an awful time. The most important thing is not to lose confidence and to go home and refocus,” that was the philosophy of sprinter Sherwin Vries who having impressed in the mornings first round qualifier, failed to make the grade through the quarterfinals.

Despite a faster reaction time and early speed Vries was overhauled mid race with Churandy Martina taking the line in a season’s best of 10.10.

World record holder Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay, the current World leader made light of their progression to the semis and with Derrick Atkins, Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis Francis coming to form, and Matic Osovnikar setting a new Slovenian record of 10.13 for the fifth fastest qualifier the 100m excitement is reaching a crescendo.

Hammer thrower, Chris Harmse, was South Africa’s final athlete on the field of play, but his first throw of 71.07 metres followed by two no throws failed to take him to the final. The top performance came from Miloslav Konopka of the Slovak Republic whose second round throw delivered a seasons best of 79.83 metres.

Can you explain more about this?

Well, Ekkart Arbeit was one member of the 14-person central governing committee for East Germany’s secret State Plan for “support” of athletes in all their sports, which you must know was a very effective and efficient plan. We know this from the Stasi files which were uncovered when the Berlin Wall crumbled. He was also East Germany’s head coach overall in the couple of years just before the communist regime collapsed. Then he bounced around, was chased out of Australia after a press expose there, got chased out of Britain when he was about to work with one of the top athletes there, and after Frank Dick couldn’t find him employment anywhere else, he took a secondment to South Africa to run the show there since sometime last year. It is his way or the highway, from what I gather and he has a particular interest of course in the throws but also in the 400m events _ which I gather has pissed off some of South Africa’s very good local personal coaches who have been forced to take direction or look elsewhere for support.

Interestingly South African federation were going to employ Arbeit leading up to the 2002 Com Games in Manchester but a few of the press types down there got wind of it, did some research and the Federation shit themselves and said publically the Arbeit deal was Off. But then he’s turned up 4 years or so later and not a word of dissent in the media in Sth Africa that I have ready anyway. :rolleyes:

Aside from the fact that this guy was a scumbag informer, he was in charge of the Shot/throws in EG.
What possible insight that gives him into preparation for the 400m etc is beyond me. He’s on record demanding cross country runs from sprinters etc.
I’ve run across his type before- once at an Austrian seminar, where an EG Rowing fugitive was telling me I didn’t know how to prepare for the sprints.
I did have the satisfaction that, by the end of the conference, the discussion had created a mutiny amongst the sprinters present, all of whom had experienced the problems with his methods I’d pointed out.

Regardless of what a scumbag he is, you’d think they would have learned by now that it’s a bad idea to employ ex communist coaches for western athletes because they can’t deal with the culture clash. I’ve heard about this in pole vault and gymnastics especially. I remember something about a chinese gymnastics coach and saunas before gym classes!

Culture clash? How is it a culture clash to insist that your 400m runners do X-C and drag them in to camps to make sure it happens? That’s just a moronathon!!

A new word for the vocablorary :smiley: . As for the cross country, in return I’d suggest his throwers do 5000 baseball pitches a day in the winter to prepare thier shoulders for the rigors of shotput.

I will not let out to much of my personal feeling about the German at this stage, you guys said it above. Amazingly he arranged 6 training camps for the elite SA athletes as preperation for the World Champs. Week long camps where they only did tests, like standing lj, overhead shot and 30m. The testing takes two days and the athletes sit around for 5 days. This they did 6 times. This guy is a joke, and even more the people who employ him.

Yup, he’s “fighting above his weight class”
doesn’t know what he’s doing!

I think Tabata training would really whip those throwers into shape- we’ll put them in camp to make sure they do it. ACTUALLY, YOU’LL run the camp. I’ll be at a safe distance!!

Being a good beurocrat I’m going to employ some college student for $5 an hour to administer the test, video the whole thing and made a reality TV show out of the footage. I think it would make compolsive viewing.

The thing I don’t like about Arbeit was that he used the old Sgt Schultz excuse: “I know nothing” about allegations he was up to his monocle in the East German shit.

Then when Dr Werner Franke led the investigation deeper on behalf of the unified German parliament and uncovered literally truck loads of sensitive documents in the meticulously maintained Stasi files, he still denied any involvement in some of the nasty stuff.

Finally his name appeared as the representative for the entire sport of athletics on the central planning committee whose mission it was to plan on behalf of the State of EGer how to “maximise” performance through “supporting means”, which was a literal translation of the German term for (edit: a subject banned on this forum). And they stopped at nothing. So, in Franke’s own words “Arbeit was not a mere functionary. He was The Mastermind.”

I remember Marlies Goehr described Arbeit, saying: “I know him. He was redder than Red.”

How could those fuckwits running South Africa even let him into the country?

Sorry, but I think he’s proven beyond any doubt that he’s not a mastermind!!
It’s pretty clear that Sergeant Schultz could have done a better job with South Africa.
As for his involvement in the subject that we won’t get into, there were medical experts running that part, led by Dr Hoeppner (Colonel Klink). His job was to see that whatever they wanted was, in fact, done.
That doesn’t excuse the fact that he was a Stasi rat. This was confirmed by Marlies Gohr, who described Arbeit after reading his reports on her in her Stasi file: “This guy was Redder than Red!”
Then there’s Arbeit’s best pal, Frank Dick…

Anyway, I think we better leave this subject alone about now!

Gee I’m glad you guys didn’t tell us what you really think :wink:

It’s just a History Lesson: it was a domino effect, that sent the tiles tumbling all the way around the globe. But there were some, like Arbeit, who were just … perfect for their time.

I tried to read info when there was talk about him coming to Australian. At that stage it may of affected me a little.

So is it like Frank Dick word is almost gospel?

HIstory lesson, i have heard Frank Dick somehow?? but how?

Former head of GB athletics, coached Daley Thompson and is now the President of European Athletics Coaches Association.

Coached Daley from a great distance. Daley spent the prep period in California and Dick was seldom there. apparently acts as Arbeit’s agent.

anyone from South Africa want to elaborate on the Arbeit/Dick contribution to the current results??