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Olympics Triathlon

Triathlon Australia Under Fire After “Poor” Tokyo Performance

H
all of fame Triathlete, Emma Carney, has called for a review into the administration and coaching of Triathlon Australia (TA), after Australia’s performance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The two-time world champion, and nine-time Australian champion, emailed the Federal Sports Minister, Richard Colbeck, demanding the people in charge of the sport be held accountable for the “extremely poor” performances at the Tokyo Games.

In the men’s event, Australia finished 16th (Jake Birtwhistle), 24th (Matthew Hauser), and 26th (Aaron Royle).

Only Emma Jeffcoat finished the women’s race, while Ashleigh Gentle and Jaz Hedgland were lapped out.

The Australian mixed relay team finished 9th out of 17 nations.

“The team was lapped,” Carney said.

“The triathlon mixed relay made its debut in Tokyo and Australia received government funding for an expected silver medal.

“A greater proportion of TA’s total funding is being directed towards salaries of TA employees.

“Whilst overall membership numbers (including elite athletes) are in decline, staff levels continue to rise.

In addition, athlete performance on the world stage has declined while staffing levels have increased,” her letter claimed.

In SportsAus High-Performance Investment Allocation Financial Year Report for 2020/21, they revealed an investment of over $4 million in Australian triathlon, up almost $1 million from the previous year.

The report revealed the total investment of sports in the 2020/21 financial year totalled $174 million, up almost $10 million from the previous year.

Carney’s letter also made allegations of bullying, high-performance selection inconsistencies, gender inequality, and a failure of the sport to sign up to Sport Integrity Australia’s national integrity framework.

Triathlon Australia issued a statement in response to Carney’s letter.

Triathlon Australia said it would begin a “rigorous” Australian Institute of Sport review of its performance after the Tokyo Paralympics.

The statement said Triathlon Australia was “committed to a culture of respect within a safe and fair sporting environment”, and it urged “any athlete or coach to raise any specific concerns with Sport Integrity Australia”.

A spokesperson for Colbeck issued a statement confirming he was aware of Carney’s concerns.

“The minister received correspondence this morning from Emma Carney within which she highlighted her concerns about Triathlon Australia and its high-performance program,” the statement said.

“Advice will be sought from the Australian Sports Commission, which funds Australia’s high-performance triathlon program, to determine what action may be required.

“The Australian Government and its sports agencies, including the Australian Institute of Sport, has taken extraordinary strides forward in efforts to ensure the appropriate treatment of athletes in high-performance and club programs.

“Sports administrators also have a responsibility to provide appropriate governance and support for all athletes and staff, ensuring they are treated appropriately.”