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Brisbane Times
Athletics chief fights back

Athletics chief fights back

Sun July 1, 2012 7:53am

Athletics Australia high-performance manager Eric Hollingsworth refused to field The Sun-Herald's allegations of misconduct but his chief executive, Dallas O'Brien, answered Daniel Lane's questions - saying he found it strange they were being raised just before the Olympics.

Sun-Herald: Has Eric Hollingsworth's position as high-performance manager been compromised by the AOC overruling the LaCaze decision despite his insistence she shouldn't be picked because she qualified after the deadline?

Dallas O'Brien: Not at all. In fact, Eric's position is exactly the same as the sport's. As the board, we believed strongly, as our first board meeting supported, that the cut-off date was the cut-off date as agreed by the AOC. The AOC changed the goalposts and it was their decision, and strongly suggested we put her in the team, and our board agreed to that. We changed the whole qualifying date with the AOC. As far as Eric goes, he was stating the sport's strong line at that time.

SH: Did Sean Wroe, a runner Eric coached, receive an extension to qualify for an Australian team that was not available to others?

DO: If you're talking about Daegu, the world championships last year, there was no extension. There was discussion around Sean being eligible for the individual 400m as well as the relay. He was nominated in the team in the relay and he was also entered into the individual. A team manager, or head coach as Eric is, is able to do that in that situation once a person is nominated in the team. There was nothing different to Sally Pearson also getting nominated to run the 4 x 100m relay.

SH: There have also been suggestions Hollingsworth is trying to manage athletes. Is this true?

DO: Not that I'm aware. Certainly he has a big job with us as high-performance manager and we don't feel it's suitable that he coaches or manages anyone. Certainly management hasn't been brought to our notice at all and we wouldn't want that to be happening.

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