altATHLETICS AUSTRALIA are to appoint a new high performance director who will focus almost exclusively on the country's best track and field talent leading up to the London Olympics after Max Binnington (pictured) stepped down.


Australia enjoyed its most successful track and field performance for 40 years at the Olympics in Beijing when they won four medals, including a gold for pole vaulter Steve Hooker.


But the sport's governing body has still decided to restructure its high performance department after a review and to replace Binnington, who had taken over from former British triple jumper Keith Connor in December 2004.


Athletics Australia chief executive Danny Corcoran said: ''When Max took over four years ago, by necessity the job had a very wide brief.


''I think we now need to have someone who can focus on the challenges facing the leading athletes and probably focus on that as 90 per cent of the job.


''They will need to work with the athletes, work through any problems with the coaches and let's set sail for London [the 2012 Olympics].


''For us the challenge now is to develop the biggest pool of athletes in the build-up to London.'


''That includes through the Commonwealth Games in 2010 [in New Delhi] and giving the athletes as many chances as we can to fill that pool.''


Athletics Australia is hoping to appoint a replacement for Binnington by January, before the major meets of their domestic season.


Binnington, a former sprinter who represented Australia in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, will remain with Athletics Australia in a consulting role.


In addition to Athletics Australia's internal review, the Federal Government is conducting a review into the Australian sporting system, which could have a significant effect on athletics.


Its findings are expected to be released next year.


Corcoran said: ''If we are to keep pace with the rest of the world, we need to invest heavily in sport at the beginning of the four-year cycle to set the stage for success in London in 2012."