Australia names Briton Nathan new athletics chief

MELBOURNE Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:27am GMT

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Simon Nathan, who helped Britain's athletics team clinch four golds medals at the London Olympics, has been named Australia's high performance director of athletics.

Briton Nathan, a long-serving coach with British Athletics, will be responsible for strategy, contracts, selection policy and funding in an over-arching role within governing body Athletics Australia (AA).

"I had a great time at the London Olympics, which went very well for me personally," Nathan said in a statement released by AA on Monday. Britain also won a silver and a bronze medal in the athletics events in London.

"I've always admired the Australian sporting culture and the chance to be able to contribute directly is very exciting."

Nathan takes on the portfolio relinquished by former high performance manager Eric Hollingsworth, who will focus exclusively on his role as AA's head coach after a controversy-marred lead up to the London Games.

AA came under scrutiny for a number of spats with athletes over team selections in the lead up to London, prompting Australia's Olympic Committee to intervene.

Australia targeted six medals in London but came home with only one gold, to 100 metres hurdles champion Sally Pearson, and two silvers.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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