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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Hollingsworth still thinks the team is on track

Hollingsworth still thinks the team is on track

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Eric Hollingsworth

Team is on track for Games: coach

Michael Gleeson, Daegu
The Age
September 5, 2011.

COACH Eric Hollingsworth has defended Australia's efforts at the world championships despite winning only three medals - two short of his forecast - and insisted the team was still on track for six medals at next year's London Olympics.

''I don't think we've come up short, what I think it does emphasise is how difficult it is to win medals at this world championships,'' Hollingsworth said.

''I think my prediction was correct in terms of five medals, but neither you or I would have predicted that both our defending champions wouldn't have showed. I can say I'd be pretty certain that neither Steve [Hooker] or Dani [Samuels] would perform the same way next year.''

Australia won three medals in South Korea: Sally Pearson gold in the 100 metres hurdles, Mitch Watt silver in the long jump and Jared Tallent bronze in the 50-kilometre walk. They also had four other athletes finish in the finalists' top eight - Benn Harradine was fifth in the discus, javelin throwers Kim Mickle and Jarrod Bannister finished sixth and seventh respectively, and Luke Adams was fifth in the 50-kilometre walk.

''I'm happy I went public with the target. It keeps everyone on their toes, the team actually believes we can do five and better. In our ranks we're saying we're never going to get Steve Hooker to no height again so there's another medal and Dani to perform as poorly as she did. And then we start looking for a bit more. Can we get Ben Harradine, Kim Mickle, Jarrod Bannister, Luke Adams up those few spots?

''Although we only got the three I'm still 100 per cent we've hit most of the benchmarks we needed in the championships except I couldn't predict the unpredictable with those two.''

But these figures couldn't mask several disappointments. The defending world champion and Olympic and world indoor champion Hooker, was underprepared and was eliminated in the heat without making a jump.

Reigning world champion Samuels did not make the finals after throwing poorly and although he won silver after battling injury, Watt, was disappointed to finish second knowing he had the four world leading jumps this year. National 1500 metres title holder Jeff Risely, who had been considered a dark horse for a medal, failed to make the final.

Hollingsworth said he saw no reason to revise his prediction of six athletics medals in London.

''There's no change,'' he said. ''The emphasis will be that you really have to pay attention to detail because no matter how good you are or what your record is you still have to get there and produce the goods.''

"Let's Go While We're Young"


''I think my prediction was correct in terms of five medals, but neither you or I would have predicted that both our defending champions wouldn't have showed. I can say I'd be pretty certain that neither Steve [Hooker] or Dani [Samuels] would perform the same way next year.''

I've got no problem with Eric Hollingsworth making a prediction of 5 medals at the world champs, it's better than sitting on the fence. It wasn't unreasonable if a couple of others like a Harradine (discus) or Bannister (javelin) or a couple of the walkers has snuck int othe medals. They had some reasonable lead up form. BUT he clearly has misread the lay of the land in respect to the Men's pole vault & Women's discus. Neith Hooker nor Samuels had made any impression in the Diamond League and had virtually no form of note leading into the world champs. They were struggling and a long way off the seasoned hardened competitors who medalled in those events in Daegu. The lack of a decent prep because of injury issues meant it always going to be difficult Hooker & Samuels to return to the level of 2009. Their world champs results were predictable because their form leading into it (compared to their rivals) was there for all to see.

"Let's Go While We're Young"

spin doc

I think Hollingsworth thought our medal count would be somewhere around 6 to 9 and was very conservative.My opinion he was hoping to say after the Games that we are doing such a good job at Athletics Aust and we are ahead of where we thought we were.
Unfortunately for him it has come back to bite him on the butt and as Youngy has said if athletes arent 100% right and there lead up to the games hasnt been spot on the medals arent going to be there.
Interesting to note that Jane Fleming commented that we had no track runners in any race up to and including 800m.Whats the problem there?


Came to the same conclusions. The comments reveal an inability of Eric to accept that what Eric wants/needs/expects to happen is not necessarily what is actually likely to happen. It's one thing to hope for Hooker and Samuels to medal, but it's another thing entirely to expect them to medal by simple virtue of their defending champion status.

The larger issue for me is that there doesn't seem to be anyone in a position of power within AA or within the media willing to either stand up to Eric or criticise his positions. The people at AA seem to be either too weak or too busy patting themselves on the back for the achievements of athletes who selected themselves, and the main journalists from TA/SMH & H-S are either glorified stenographers (Gleeson), or long-term Hollingsworth lackeys (Scott Gullan).

How hard would it be to examine the excuses made by Hollingsworth in this article? A five minute search of the IAAF's own website can give you the ranking of each of the Australian defending champions' best performances for this calendar year.

Dani Samuels, 62.33m Birmingham 10/07/2011, 22nd prior to Daegu!

Steve Hooker, 5.60m Leverkusen 30/07/2011, =35th prior to Daegu.

Neither of these best performances indicate an athlete even close to competing at their optimum. To hope that they will rise to the occasion is one thing; we all hoped that Samuels and Hooker would do themselves and their country proud. But to expect them to medal is another matter entirely, and to say so publicly is near-sighted, stupid and exemplifies Eric Hollingsworth's poor decision making and lack of fitness to hold his current position, just as not examining the voracity of his claims makes Gleeson little more than a scribe.


I don't mind Eric Hollingsworth; I think the job requires someone with a touch of arrogance, a hard-arse attitude and prepared to say what he thinks despite the consequences. We don't need a fence sitter or someone who runs with the foxes & sleeps with the hounds. With Eric, what you see is what you get.

From personal experience, when I was dealing with him in 2009 he was fair & reasonable in my discussions with him. So I guess whether you like Eric or not depends on what you want from your head coach and whether you think he delivers it. In reality there's not a lot he can control in terms of the preparation of each athlete. It's a tough gig that requires a touch of 'mongrel' at times and a willingness to make the tough calls.

He obviously had a misplaced faith in Hooker & Samuels when it was evident that they would struggle and any hope of a medal had ben extinguished before Daegu by their lack of a decent prep. And to tip Risely as a potential 1500m medallist was again 'out of wack' with reality.

He needs to be more measured in his comments, utilise the element of surprise - yes tell the journalists that he thinks X medals are a possibility but only declare the obvious ones (Pearson & Watt). Leave the others open ended.

On another matter, I think the selectors need a "please explain" on the women's 4 x 400m fiasco. How they could justfy its inclusion but not select, say a Zoe Buckman or a Lachlan Renshaw is mind boggling. They made an ordinary 'non' call on a few athletes and need to tighten up on their checks & balances.

I have been pleasantly surprised and impressed by her commentary throughout the World Athletics Championships. She seemed to say all the right things, was obviously well prepared and had done her research. She was spot on about the track athletes and the below-par performance of them and the fact we had no-one in the team from 100m to 800m. She was pretty good. And hopefully she is one of the co-commentators at the Olympics.

I wasn't a big fan of Jane's for various reasons before the World Champs and I'm not sure I am now, but I do respect the way she commentated during the World Champs. She is a lot better than say, Raelene Boyle.

In summary -

Eric's role as head coach - 6/10. (As Nick Riewoldt says 6 is OK!)

AA Selectors - 3/10.

Jane Fleming as a commentator - 8/10.

"Let's Go While We're Young"



Flame heads home with three medals; Hollingsworth satisfied

posted by rtsam
September 5, 2011.

Fireworks both on and off the track marked the close of the IAAF world championships in Daegu (KOR) last night, as the Australian Flame headed home with three medals and a top-eight finish on the medal tally.

Ranked 12th overall on the points table, just shy of the target top-ten, the Flame have competed above par but with room for further improvement, according to Athletics Australia High Performance Manager Eric Hollingsworth.

Hollingsworth said: “I think the team has delivered a credible pass.

“Obviously winning a gold, silver and bronze medal was a fantastic result, and had our world champions [Steve Hooker and Dani Samuels] from 2009 delivered something that we all know they are capable of we would have donefantastically.

“Athletics is a truly universal sport and great results here are hard to come by. That’s why other top-eight performances by Benn Harradine, Kim Mickle and Luke Adams are fantastic as well, they provide launching pads for the London Olympics build-up this coming ten months.”

With the London Olympics now less than 12 months away, Hollingsworth understands the required level of effort to deliver the target six medals next year.

Hollingworth added: “To get the results we need in London we need those that were close here, the like of Harradine and Adams, to improve that little bit.

“We need Hooker and Samuels, and others like Nathan Deakes and Jana Pittman to find the form that has made them some of the best in the world, and we need the team as a whole committed to becoming the best they can be.

“I still think we can deliver six medals – I am not saying that it will be easy, but it isn’t something that we can’t achieve either.”

Australia’s medal winners were Sally Pearson, Mitchell Watt and Jared Tallent.

Pearson arguably delivered the best performance of the whole championships, after ablistering 12.53 in round one of the women’s 100m hurdles, before back-to-back Australian and Oceania records of 12.36 and 12.28 to win gold in resounding fashion. The latter was also a championship record.

Watt won silver in the men’s long jump after soaring 8.33m in round two ofcompetition, while Tallent clocked 3:42:36 to win bronze in the men’s 50km walk.

The Flame now turn their attention to a solid training block before the commencement of the National Athletics Series in early December. A 13-stop event, the domestic athletics calendar includes five championship events and four Australian Athletics Tour meets.

The Australian Athletics Tour in 2012 heads to Adelaide (TBC), Perth and Sydney before closing with the IAAF World Challenge meet in Melbourne, which this year will double as the Selection Trial for the 2012 London Olympics. All four Tour meets will be televised with an announcement on this to follow shortly.

"Let's Go While We're Young"

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