Wednesday, 19 September 2018

‘It’s devastating for our sport’: Triathletes left in the lurch

‘It’s devastating for our sport’: Triathletes left in the lurch
03 Jul

The company said a full refund would be offered to those who signed up for the Act-Belong-Commit Dwellingup 100 MTB Classic and the Mighty Jarrah Trail Run.

Former TriEvents subcontractor and commentator Simon Beaumont said the announcement was “devastating” for the sport.

“[TriEvents WA] are the pre-eminent large scale community mass participation events organisers in the state,” he said.

“These guys are community and national and international event organisers… their closure is unprecedented.

“The impact will be profound on people who take part in mass participation events – we’re not just losing a business structure, we’re losing expertise as well.

“I understand that the closure came quickly and was unexpected, but the process of trying to reconfigure the business has been ongoing for months.

“It’s devastating for our sport.”

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Perth Triathlon Club coach Rob Suriano said it was a sad day for the sport in WA.

“It was certainly a shock for everyone. They’ve been in sport for awhile,” he said.

“They have been very good race directors and probably seen as WA’s premier race directors for the best part of the last 20 years.

“We knew that there’d been a decrease in numbers of people participating in triathlon.

“You could see it at the TriEvents races – a few years ago they used to be sell outs.

“There’s certainly a lot less people attending their events, but there’s also a lot less people attending events all round the state.”

The Joondalup leg of the SunSmart TriSeries.

The Joondalup leg of the SunSmart TriSeries.

Photo: TriSeriesWA

Despite the triathlon WA event calendar taking a hit with the closure of the company, Mr Suriano said it was a chance for local clubs to step up and take the reins in the short term.

“If you have a good look at the triathlon calendar, there’s dozens and dozens of races that are on,” he said.

“While TriEventsWA have certainly been regarded as running some of the most professional races, maybe it’s a good chance for other people to step up and fill the void.

“[Clubs] have sort of been toiling away for years with lesser numbers, so this could be a good chance for club run events to increase those numbers.

“People still want to do this sport, and they’ll need to go somewhere.”

Exceed Triathlon Club president Ross Pedlow said it was sad to see TriEvents go, but was also hopeful for the future of the sport in WA.

“TriEvents have been a huge supporter of the sport for the last 20 years… our club has supported TriEvents to the hilt,” he said.

“We’ve backed them 100 per cent, we’ve made them one of our race series we go to.

“How we’ll be affected, obviously we won’t be going.

“It’s just the changing pace of triathlon… but I’ve been around triathlon for a long, long time and although they’re great races, someone’s going to step up and fill the void.

“The main thing is, TriEvents will be sorely missed, but it’s also another opportunity for other people to step up.”

The sport has faced challenges in recent months.

The sport has faced challenges in recent months.

Photo: Supplied

Mr Beaumont said while club-run events would help ease the impact of TriEvents WA’s closure, it was only a short term solution.

“You can’t replace a highly professional, experienced commercial outfit with volunteer run organisations, who are busy running clubs,” he said.

“Yeah, you can replace events in the short term if the sport is to survive at a grassroots level, but long term you cannot replace a commercial organisation like TriEvents with all of their equipment and expertise.

“We might limp through for a series or so but ultimately you need contract businesses to run these things because you need traffic management, approvals, and all that stuff.”

The announcement comes just a day after Triathlon Australia automatically renewed all its annual membership packages, which can range from $142 to $235.

A Triathlon Australia membership means triathletes are offered a discount on event entry costs.

In the last eight months, TriEvents WA was responsible for seven dualthon and triathlon events.

“To me, this is just a coincidence that this has happened just a couple of days after that,” Mr Suriano said.

“Are there less events? As of July 2, today, there are. But now we just ask the question who’s going to step up and run races instead?”

TriEvents WA was also responsible for aspects of the Perth Christmas Pageant.

TriEvents WA was also responsible for aspects of the Perth Christmas Pageant.

Photo: Supplied.

Triathlon in WA has faced challenges in recent months, with organisers of the Busselton IronMan forced to contend against a number of challenges facing the sport in WA in recent months.

Repeated shark sightings cut the swim leg short at two separate events last year, and a severe weather warning caused organisers to cancel the swim leg again earlier this year.

Hannah Barry

The youngest member of the team, Hannah joined WAtoday straight out of Curtin University in 2016. She is a lover of running, cooking shows, dogs and unfortunately the Fremantle Dockers.

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