Athletics in Australia faces independent review
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The government-run Australian Sports Commission says it will conduct an independent review of athletics to address “systemic issues” facing the sport in Australia.
The announcement of the review Thursday comes a day after Athletics Australia accepted the resignation of track and field head coach Eric Hollingsworth, who was suspended and sent home over a public falling out with Olympic champion hurdler Sally Pearson at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July.
“While there were some fantastic performances at the recent Commonwealth Games, there are a number of systemic issues facing athletics across high performance, governance and participation that warrant an independent review,” John Wylie, chairman of the ASC, said in a statement.
Among the issues to be investigated by the review are “a lack of common purpose and cohesion at the elite level,” poor participation at junior level and fragmented governance structures.
“Athletics Australia welcomes this review, which we see as assisting the sport to create a blueprint for its future direction and development,” AA President David Grace said. “The board, executive and member associations of Athletics Australia will give full co-operation to the review which will also incorporate the views of all relevant stakeholders.”
The review will be chaired by former Australia cricket coach John Buchanan and include former sprinter Melinda Gainsford-Taylor and former international cross-country runner Lynne Williams on its panel.
The review panel is expected to present its report by the end of the year.
English-born Hollingsworth was suspended after he released an unauthorized statement criticizing Pearson on the eve of her Commonwealth title defense for not attending the team’s pre-Glasgow training camp.