TRIATHLON NEW ZEALAND has cut the number of athletes it supports as it looks to bounce back from a disappointing effort at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
The squad failed to win a medal for the first time since Sydney in 2000, with long-standing fears regarding the level of talent progressing through to senior level.
Tri NZ named a 14-strong high performance squad for the coming year, seven less than last time, and only three in the elite “podium” squad.
Those three are world No 3 Andrew Hewitt, who was sixth in London, Kate McIlroy (10th in London) and Ryan Sissons (33rd).
Simone Ackermann, Bryce McMaster, Sophie Corbidge, Rebecca Kingsford, Mikayla Nielsen and Tony Dodds were named in the podium development group.
Maddie Dillon, Elise Salt, Sam Ward, Aaron Barclay and Andrew Ranford are in the development group.
Among those to miss out were veteran Nicky Samuels and Olympic reserve Clark Ellice, while Bevan Docherty, Chris Gemmell and Debbie Tanner have retired from Olympic distance triathlons.
“I spoke with Clark yesterday and he was one of the tougher decisions. Nicky was the same. These guys have raced consistently and solidly for a number of years for New Zealand and represented the country well. The objectivity here is about a projection towards the podium in Rio [in 2016].
“I look at someone like Clark who has finished about 20th consistently over the last four years in the world championship with no real variation in that. It’s about where the progression is going. Sometimes you have to make a call that says, ‘at the moment, Clark, there’s not really the evidence to suggest you are getting close to a podium at a world level’.”
A review had suggested the sport focus on a smaller number of athletes, although the high performance squad will be reviewed annually.
The sport’s funding from High Performance Sport New Zealand has been trimmed slightly.
IMAGE: Tri NZ