Hockey-Hockeyroos coach steps down ahead of release of review into bullying claims

March 17 (Reuters) - Australian women’s hockey coach Paul Gaudoin has resigned from his post four months before the Olympics, ahead of the release of the findings of an independent review into claims of bullying in the national setup, Hockey Australia (HA) said on Wednesday.

Gaudoin took charge in 2016 and guided the team to second in the world rankings by the end of 2019.

The HA launched an independent review in December after they were made aware of a “toxic culture and bullying” in the program and the findings are set to be released on Thursday.

"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 CEO Matt Favier said in a statement here.

“The past 12 months have been a difficult and taxing time for everyone involved in the High Performance program and especially the coaching staff.”

Assistant coach Katie Allen has been made the interim head coach until HA announce a replacement for both roles ahead of the Tokyo Games in July-August.

“I have spent more than half my life involved with the High Performance Program as a player for the Kookaburras and as a coach for both the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras,” Gaudoin, 45, said.

“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 2nd in the world.” (Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)