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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Top Australian pole vault coach quits amid investigation

Top Australian pole vault coach quits amid investigation

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https://www.smh.com.au/sport/athletics/top-australian-pole-vault-coach-quits-amid-investigation-20190711-p526az.html

Top Australian pole vault coach quits amid investigation


By Michael Gleeson
The Age
July 11, 2019


Top Australian athletics coach Alex Parnov has quit his position as head pole vault coach amid an investigation over inappropriate behaviour.

Parnov, the man who coached Steve Hooker to Olympic and world championships gold medals and an Olympic record, this week quit his role as head of Australia's pole vault program at the West Australian Institute of Sport.

Athletics Australia chief executive Darren Gocher confirmed Parnov's coaching accreditation had also been suspended pending the outcome of the independent investigation.

One of Australia's most successful athletics coaches, Parnov is under investigation by WAIS after concerns were raised over inappropriate behaviour. The nature of the behaviour has not been specified.

He was put on leave in recent weeks after an initial investigation by WAIS found a broader investigation was warranted.

A law firm specialising in employment law was commissioned to undertake an independent investigation. That investigation remains ongoing despite Parnov's recent resignation.

"Alex has tendered his resignation as head coach of the WA Institute of Sport pole vault program. This occurred late last week," WAIS chief executive Steve Lawrence told The Age.

"He is currently the subject of a WAIS-initiated independent investigation around concerns over his behaviour as a WAIS employee. The investigation is ongoing. We have not finalised anything as yet."

Lawrence said there was no complainant making an allegation and no complaint has been lodged with WAIS.

He said WAIS "became aware of some information and we started some investigations into that. The concerns were significant enough for us to initiate the independent investigation."

Parnov was employed by WAIS to run the program which was funded by Athletics Australia. Until he went on leave and then resigned, he was coaching a number of AA funded athletes.

Parnov is among Australia's most successful athletics coaches, having coached multiple world indoor and outdoor, Olympic and Commonwealth games medallists. Hooker, who was world indoor and outdoor champion and Olympic gold medallist, was chief among them.

He famously jumped over the fence and ran onto the track at the Beijing Olympics to jump into Steve Hooker's arms after Hooker won gold in an Olympic record height.

Until he was stood down, Parnov was coaching five nationally funded athletes, including star pair Kurtis Marschall and Nina Kennedy.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Marschall went to Perth last year to join the Parnov program, where Kennedy – who won bronze at the Gold Coast games – was also being trained.

Dual Commonwealth Games gold medallist Alana Boyd briefly moved to Perth to be coached by Parnov late in her career, but the experience did not last long and she returned to being coached by her father, Olympian Ray Boyd.

Parnov's daughters have both represented Australia in pole vault. His eldest daughter, Vicky, has since retired, but his daughter, Liz, is still competing and recently jumped 4.6 metres to qualify for this year's world championships. She is now being coached by Paul Burgess.

Ukraine-born Parnov also coached Sydney Olympic Games silver medallist Tatiana Grigorieva, who is also a relative.

The Age has contacted Parnov for comment.

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