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Olympics-Powell takes over Australia’s ‘Hockeyroos’ after period of turmoil

Australia named Katrina Powell as Olympic women’s hockey coach on Tuesday after a scathing review into team culture led to the resignation of Paul Gaudoin earlier this month.

Powell becomes the first woman to coach the three-times Olympic champion ‘Hockeyroos’ since Colleen Quinn in 1978. She will be in charge until the end of the Tokyo Games, Hockey Australia (HA) said in a statement.

“We are delighted to have appointed Katrina to take the Hockeyroos through what is a crucial and exciting period,” said HA President Mel Woosnam.

“The past months have been a challenging period for everyone associated with the Hockeyroos but we feel Katrina is the right person to get the best out of this group and continue in its Olympic preparations.”

Powell’s predecessor Gaudoin quit before the partial release of findings from an independent review into claims of bullying in the national setup, including incidents of body-shaming and homophobia.

The review discovered a “dysfunctional culture” that was neither conducive to success or player wellbeing, HA said earlier this month.

High performance manager Toni Cumpston resigned in January, weeks after the review was launched.

“My coaching style is one of athlete wellbeing but high expectation and discipline,” said Powell, head coach of the elite hockey programme in Australia’s eastern state of New South Wales.

“There is still a lot of work to do between now and the Olympics and I am eager to get straight into it and help these girls reach their potential because it is a highly talented squad that can finish on the dais in Tokyo.”

Australia, gold medallists at the 1988, 1996 and 2000 Olympics, are currently ranked fourth in the world behind the Netherlands, Argentina and Germany.

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