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Officials accused of Robbins' cover up

08/12/2004 06:00:47 AM Comments (0)

The parents of Olympic rower Sally Robbins' teammates have accused sports officials of a covering up following Robbins' collapse in the final of the women's eight at the Athens Olympics.

Three parents of the crew met Brent Espeland, the deputy head of the Australian Sports Commission, to raise their concerns that Robbins' teammates were told what to say at a press conference in Athens by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) after the dramatic collapse and that coaches had not acted on Robbins' failure in an earlier race, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Their complaints are backed by a confidential AOC report that says the committee did not know about Robbins' poor performance in the qualifying race until 36 hours after the Olympic final.

An independent investigator is likely to be appointed by the federal government to review the case, the Herald said.

Robbins stopped rowing in the end stages of the Olympic final of the women's eights. She blamed extreme fatigue for her collapse.

Her failure sparked ugly scenes and recriminations within the team.

John Doyle, the father of rower Kyeema Doyle, and one of the parents who met Mr Espeland in Sydney last week, told the Herald the crew had called a meeting in Athens immediately after Robbins' poor performance in the qualifier and had lined up another rower for the final.

"The coach was aware but he couldn't get Sally out of the crew," he said.

AOC spokesman Mike Tancred told the paper the rowers had not been censored in Athens and it was they who arrived in uniform outside the AOC's office in Athens asking for a news conference.

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