Triathlon New Zealand has set a high bar in announcing its latest high performance squads, high performance director Graham Maw says.
Only two athletes of the 10 named have made the tier one squad – world No.2 Andrea Hewitt, and returning former world No.5 Nicky Samuels.
Hewitt has only recently committed to her third Olympics, following the death of her fiancee and coach Laurent Vidal six weeks ago.
Samuels, who didn’t compete this year as she battled ongoing hip and knee problems, has worked her way back to fitness following surgery in April.
That sort of patience is key when it comes to triathlon – for athletes and coaches alike.
Maw points to the improvement shown by Aucklander Simone Ackermann, who has been elevated to the second tier of triathletes, joining Ryan Sissons and Tony Dodds.
Another Aucklander, 24-year-old Sophie Corbidge, heads a five-strong group of tier three athletes comprising Elise Salt, Samuel Ward, Nicole van der Kaay, and Gisborne newcomer Tayler Reid.
Maw says while next year’s Rio Olympics are a major focus, Triathlon NZ is also committed to working towards the 2020 Tokyo Games.
He said the selectors would still like to see more athletes challenging for inclusion in the high performance squad, but building depth required patience.
“There’s no question we would like to see more achieving at that level.
“Tri NZ makes no apology for a policy that has seen the bar set high to be a part of the HP squads,” he said.
“Those named today have earned it, but must continue to show results and progress towards their goals.”