By Nick Butler at the Main Press Centre in Glasgow

Eric Hollingsworth has been suspended after criticising team captain Sally Pearson ©Getty ImagesEric Hollingsworth, head coach of the Australian athletics team at the Commonwealth Games, has been suspended after publicly criticising team captain and Olympic 100 metre hurdles champion Sally Pearson.


It followed a  feud between the duo allegedly dating back to the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Sopot in March.

Hollingsworth was critical of Pearson's performance when she came only second behind Nia Ali of the United States, and it is thought the athlete has refused to speak to him since.

Earlier today, the English-born coach, a former decathlete who used to train with Daley Thompson, claimed Pearson's failure to attend the team's pre-Commonwealth Games camp n Gateshead, and to instead race at the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games in London, had set a bad example for the rest of the team.

In a statement released this evening, Athletics Australia (AA) President David Grace condemned Hollingsworth for the fact he said anything, for what he said about Person in particular, and for the timing of what he said.

Grace said Hollingsworth had defied specific instruction from Athletics Australia chief executive Dallas O'Brien in choosing to issue a media release through a public relations adviser.

He has been suspended without pay by AA pending further action when the board can met to consider the matter.

Eric Hollingsworth and Sally Pearson pictured together in happier times after the hurdler won gold at Delhi 2010 ©Getty ImagesEric Hollingsworth and Sally Pearson pictured together in happier times after the hurdler won gold at Delhi 2010 ©Getty Images



Speaking since the decision was made, Australia's Chef de Mission at Glasgow 2014, Steve Moneghetti,claimed "helping athletes produce their best performances" remained his number one priority.

He added: "We have athletes in action tonight at various venues around Glasgow and it is my role to ensure that those athletes are given every opportunity to perform at their absolute best.

"Coaches play an intricate part in that process and the Australian Commonwealth Games team is all about supporting our athletes' preparation and performance."

It is hardly ideal preparation Pearson's attempt to defend her Commonwealth Games 100m hurdles title begins tomorrow. 

The 2011 world champion is the favourite for gold but will face tough opposition from the likes of England's Tiffany Porter, the 2013 World Championship bronze medallist, and Canada's Angel Whyte.

It also comes as the Australian team are looking to build on the momentum of Michael Shelly's surprise victory in the men's marathon on Sunday (July 28) and gain more medals success in the sport.

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