Sport Other Sports Coach axed over Pearson stoush

Coach axed over Pearson stoush

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Suspended athletics head coach Eric Hollingsworth has been booted out of the Australian team camp at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Team boss Steve Moneghetti said Hollingsworth’s accreditation has been revoked and the ACGA are sending him home, possibly as soon as Thursday.

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Moneghetti said the Australian Commonwealth Games Association were sending Hollingsworth back because he had breached his team agreement.

Australian Chef de Mission Steve Moneghetti

“Because that was a breach we invited that person in to explain the reason for the breach and we decided there was reason enough to impose some sanctions on the actions taken by Eric Hollingsworth,” Moneghetti said.

“We then spoke to the section manager from Athletics Australia to decide on a sanction and as a result, AA withdrew Eric’s nomination as head coach. This led to us revoking his accreditation and we’ve mande arrangements for him to travel back.”

Athletics Australia on Wednesday suspended Hollingsworth after he launched an extraordinary attack on athletics team captain Sally Pearson on the eve of her Commonwealth Games 100m hurdles title defence.

It came after Hollingsworth issued a statement through a PR company claiming Pearson had set a “bad example” by not attending a pre-Games training camp in Gateshead when she chose race in London following an injury-marred preparation.

He also defended his right to criticise Pearson’s inability to defend the world indoors 60m hurdles title in March, after which their relationship broke down completely.

Hollingsworth also took issue with claims from Pearson’s camp that she had received less medical support from AA than had been the case in the past.

The team coach said he felt compelled to speak out due to what he said was “a negative and incorrect picture of the events leading up to the Commonwealth Games”.

He insisted he asked “legitimate questions” of Pearson after she was beaten into second place by American Nia Ali in the defence of her world indoor title in Poland.

Announcing Hollingsworth’s suspension on Wednesday, AA President David Grace made it that Hollingsworth had spoken out against the direct orders of his employers.

They recommended to the ACGA that Hollingsworth be effectively banished from the Games.

Sally Pearson after winning gold in New Delhi. Photo: Getty

Grace said the sport’s national ruling body was bitterly disappointed and described Hollingsworth’s position as “untenable”.

Moneghetti said Pearson was unaffected by the incident and described her as a “consummate professional.”

The team boss said it was his decision to allow Hollingsworth to be present at the track on Wednesday night despite his suspension.

He said it was imperative that the former decathlete be on hand to assist heptathlete Sophie Stanwell, who finished fourth in her event.

Hollingsworth was the team coach for heptathlon.

“That was my decision and my decision entirely because we had an athlete who was competing in an event,” Moneghetti said.

“That event hadn’t come to its completion until last night so Sophie Stanwell to her credit had a fantastic event – we look after the athletes. We didn’t want to affect her performance.”

Moneghetti said Hollingsworth accepted the consequences of his rogue statement when he addressed him on Wednesday.

“He understands the team agreement. He wasn’t argy bargy on whether he’d breached that team agreement, he was open and honest,” he said.