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Tuesday, 25 June, 2002, 07:28 GMT 08:28 UK
Lewis dumped by coach
Denise Lewis celebrates her heptathlon success at the Sydney Olympics
Denise Lewis took gold for Britain in the 2000 Olympics
Charles van Commenee, the coach who helped Denise Lewis take Olympic gold, has split with the British heptathlete because she became a mother.

The Dutchman believes parenthood will distract Lewis from focusing on her athletics career and stop her winning gold in future tournaments.

"I want to spend time and energy only when there is a reasonable chance of a gold medal," he said.

"As it is now, I can see Denise winning medals, but not the gold medal with me in charge."

Her pregnancy, coupled with a succession of injuries, mean Lewis has not competed in a heptathlon since taking gold in the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Van Commenee said he wanted his athletes to demonstrate 100% commitment to him and to their sport.

"Denise has won important medals by small margins and, apart from last year, she has overcome a lot of difficulties in terms of injuries," he said.

"If the situation is going to be more complicated, where she has to divide her attention - and she will because I think she will be a wonderful mother - you have got to give in somewhere."

Several female athletes have juggled the demands of motherhood with a successful career, including Liz McColgan, who won the 10,000m at the World Championships nine months after giving birth.

See also:

23 Nov 01 | Athletics
24 Sep 00 | Athletics-Field
Links to more Athletics stories are at the foot of the page.


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