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Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin steps down four months out from Tokyo Olympics ahead of review going public

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The Hockeyroos are looking for a new coach ahead of the Tokyo Olympics with Paul Gaudoin quitting his position.

Hockey Australia (HA) made the bombshell announcement on Wednesday evening, saying Gaudoin had tendered his resignation ahead of the release of findings and recommendations of an independent review.

The review was launched after explosive allegations of bullying, body shaming and homophobic behaviour within the Hockeyroos’ set-up emerged late last year, throwing the elite women’s hockey program into chaos.

A summary of the investigation’s findings is set to be released publicly on Thursday morning.

Gaudoin, who represented the Kookaburras as a player, took over as Hockeyroos coach at the end of 2016 and lifted the team to second on the world rankings three years later.

But he was criticised last year for missing a series of meetings with players.

His decision to axe stars Rachael Lynch and Georgia Morgan from the 2021 contract list caused a huge storm, with several players even threatening to strike over the shock omissions.

“Whilst I am disappointed to not see out the Olympic program to Tokyo, I am proud to have helped get the Hockeyroos to be ranked second in the world,” Gaudoin said in a statement.

“I wish both teams (Hockeyroos and Kookaburras) every success in Tokyo. It is time to focus on my family and begin a new chapter of my life. I love our game and hope it stays relevant in a competitive sporting environment.”

HA chief executive Matt Favier said it was Gaudoin who made the decision to stand down as head coach.

“In light of the release of the findings and recommendations from the independent review that has been undertaken, Paul informed Hockey Australia that he has decided to stand down from the role,” HA chief executive Matt Favier said in a statement.

“The past 12 months have been a difficult and taxing time for everyone involved in the high-performance program and especially the coaching staff.

“They have had to navigate the uncertainty of COVID while being an assuring and supportive presence for players, which Paul has done.

“He has conducted himself with integrity, devotion and commitment to the cause and done his utmost to improve the athletes, both as hockey players and as people.”

Gaudoin’s exit follows that of high-performance manager Toni Cumpston, who quit in January after stating she had lost the support of the HA board.

Assistant Coach Katie Allen will assume the interim head coach role, with HA intending to announce a replacement shortly with the Tokyo Olympics in mind.

ABC/AAP

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