Athletics Australia announce restructuring plan after London 2012
Wednesday, 26 September 2012
September 26 - Athletics Australia has reacted to its controversial campaign at London 2012, where they won three Olympic medals, by announcing a restructuring plan that sees Eric Hollingsworth have his duties split so that he will now become head coach, answerable to a high-performance director, a newly created role.
Athletics Australia have also also changed its selection criteria for next year's World Championships in Moscow back to allow for A and B standard performances, after holding to a stringent A-standard-only policy this year.
A complaint of racism from 400 metres John Steffensen is also to be investigated by an independent arbitrator.
Steffensen, who won a 4x400m relay silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics, claimed he had been a victim of racism and threatened to pull out of London after being overlooked for selection in the individual event in favor of teenager Steve Solomon.
Steffensen was later given a reserve spot for the individual 400m, but Solomon competed in the event at London where he finished eighth after qualifying for the final.
The 30-year-old, who has South African heritage but was born in Australia, had claimed on the eve of the Opening Ceremony that he had been racially vilified by an official when he competed at the 2008 Beijing Games and forced out of his accomodation.
An independent legal adviser would be appointed by AA to look into Steffensen's allegations
Steffensen has previously clashed with Athletics Australia and boycotted the 2010 Commonwealth Games, alleging mismanagement at the governing body.
Steffensen has separately been asked to explain his behaviour before the Olympics when he allegedly called chief executive of Athletics Australia Dallas O'Brien a liar.
The selection deadline will henceforth be brought in line with the International Association of Athletics Federations deadline to avoid this year's embarrassing conflict when steeplechaser Genevieve LaCaze recorded an A-standard performance two days after the AA deadline, but two weeks before the IAAF deadline.
She subsequently joined the team.
Athletics Australia hopes to fill the high-performance director role by Christmas.
"The job has always been too big for one person," said Hollingsworth after being appointed head coach.
"In a sport with this many moving parts, communication is always a massive issue.
"We certainly learnt a lot through the last six months and we now believe we've put in place a structure that will aid that."
Hollingsworth, a former British decathlete, is contracted until the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, although Athletics Australia hope he will continue in the post until the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The high performance director will be responsible for strategy, contracts, selection policy and funding.
"One of the things that did come out [of the review was problems in] communication between high performance and the board," said O'Brien.
"We're all very much aware of things that went a little bit astray pre-Olympics and we acknowledge that.
"We think that by forming this type of new structure we will deal with those problems."
May 2012: Britons to lead Australia challenge for London 2012