Elliott eyes Athletics Australia role - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Elliott eyes Athletics Australia role

By Sharon Mathieson 17/03/2004 10:40:06 PM Comments (0)

Olympic great Herb Elliott has reportedly been chosen as the man to shake up the embattled Athletics Australia (AA), five months out from the Athens Games.

Elliott, arguably Australia's greatest track athlete, is a board member of AA and a former deputy chairman of the Australian Sports COmmission (ASC).

ABC television reported the 1960 gold medallist would head an ASC review into track and field's governing body.

Federal Sports Minister Rod Kemp announced the review earlier this month in the wake of calls for the board to resign and following revelations it had debts of $1.3 million.

It was a response to the deepening crisis within the sport, evidenced when sprinter Lauren Hewitt called for chief executive Simon Allatson's resignation and Victorian coach Nic Bideau asked for the entire AA board to resign.

The recent Olympic selection trials were overshadowed by in-fighting within the sport when distance running coach Said Aouita threatened to quit the country because he was sick of the squabbles with Victorian coaches and athletes.

By the end of the trials, former world record holder Aouita had shifted his attack to Australia's head coach Keith Connor, accusing him of being a control freak.

Elliott intervened following Aouita's outburst, saying there were deep problems within Australian athletics ranks, not least of all Australian coaches' unwillingness to accept new ideas.

"If you have entrenched ideas that are not producing outcomes then one of the solutions is to bring new ideas in from outside and it just seems as if these new ideas, for whatever reason, have been rejected or closed out," he told reporters at the Olympic selection trials.

Elliott warned that unless new approaches were adopted, the gap between Australian athletes and the world's best would widen.

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