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National News

New Coaching Commission & High Performance Advisory Group established

Tuesday, 23 October 2018 | Rob Cumbrae-Stewart




To further develop the athletics coaching landscape in Australia, Athletics Australia has established a committee, containing some of our best coaches.

The new Coaching Commission, will assist the High Performance Advisory Group (HPAG) and AA Board to determine the future of coaching in Athletics.

“As a sport, we recognise the most important factor that will determine success in competition, is the effectiveness and quality of our coaches. Australia is blessed with some of the best coaches in the world, but our systems and structures are far from best practice. It’s time that we properly tapped into the coaching talent and knowledge that is available and harness it for the good of the sport. The Board of AA, will work closely with the Commission and the HPAG to build a high performance environment that is best practice and world class- our coaches, athletes and supporters deserve this level of professionalism," said Mark Arbib, President Athletics Australia.

The Coaching Commission comprises Louise Sauvage, Brent Vallance, Gary Bourne, Nic Bideau, Glynis Nunn-Cearns and Dick Telford, working with a state member association representative, an AA Board member and Australian Athletics Head Coach Craig Hillard.

Louise Sauvage who has coached for over 14 years and who boasts nine Paralympics and 11 World Para-Athletics World Championships gold medals said there was a strong need to re-establish a coaching group.

“We have a great group here with great experience and success in coaching, so I know that we will be able to provide the right guidance to help build Australia’s success in athletics as we go towards Tokyo,” Sauvage said.

The Coaching Commission will meet regularly and will have a focus on reviewing the current structure of Athletics coaching in Australia, it will put forward regular recommendations to the HPAG and AA Board and it will help with the ongoing implementations of the recommendations.



Seven Olympics, four Paralympics, nine Commonwealth Games and fourteen world championships make up the experience amongst the new High Performance Advisory Group (HPAG), drawn together by Athletics Australia.

The aim of the HPAG is to address and suggest action on major strategic issues within AA’s High-Performance Department’s program by bringing together key personnel with relevant experience from AA, the domestic and international athletics communities and the Australian high-performance sporting community to advise the AA Board and management.

Australia’s second fastest ever sprinter and Commonwealth Games medallist – Matt Shirvington will join the HPAG comprising Tamsyn Manou (nee Lewis), Louise Sauvage, Brownwyn Thompson and representatives from the Athletics Australia Board.

Matt Shirvington who has enjoyed success as a Fox Sports Presenter for over a decade since retiring from international track and field said it was great to be back in the game.

“It’s great to come back to the sport that I love and be able to help guide it to future success,” Shirvington said.

“I grew up as an athlete and I’ll always be an athlete, so to be able to pass on my knowledge and expertise to others in the sport is brilliant.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the sport grow and seeing our athletes succeed.”

The group is not intended to replace the decision-making authority of AA or the AIS, nor replace the associated accountabilities of their Boards or senior staff, but instead to complement the existing governance structures, provide expert advice and to evaluate the effectiveness of our HP programs.

The group will work closely with AA’s high performance team and meet at least quarterly.