Gisborne man to International Triathlon Union executive board

Sheldrake to play a top role in globalising the sport in run-up to 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Sheldrake to play a top role in globalising the sport in run-up to 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Terry Sheldrake

A JOURNEY Terry Sheldrake has described as “amazing” will continue for the next four years at the very top administrative end of the sport he loves.

The Gisborne-based events management company owner has been appointed to the International Triathlon Union executive board for the next four years.

Thousands of kilometres away from the ITU base in Switzerland, Sheldrake will play a top-echelon role in further globalising the sport in the cyclic run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

It’s a far cry from his triathlon beginnings as a keen member of a small group of amateurs who decades ago set up the Eastland Triathlon Club in his home town.

But it is also a natural progression for a man with now vast experience and technical knowledge and credentials for running triathlon races up to the highest level.

Those skills and the international respect and reputation he has earned over the years are the reasons he attracted the necessary votes from 120 federations at the ITU Congress in Madrid this month.

Only seven of the 13 federations in the Oceania area — of which New Zealand is part — attended the congress. That meant Sheldrake needed support from federations from the other four continental regions.

He clearly received that and believes it is his hands-on experience and qualifications that got him those voting paper ticks . . . something he says he feels “personally quite proud of”.

It was perhaps no surprise. The current Oceania Triathlon Union president and Level 3 qualified ITU technical official has been involved for 25 years in triathlon races ranging from club events to Olympic Games.

He continues to run the ITU World Cup event in New Plymouth and remains involved with the Oceania Triathlon Union development programme, on top of the events run by the company (TMS Sport Promotions Ltd) he and wife Kathy own.

Add to that the hundreds of events he has been part of — from the massively successful Weet-Bix Tryathlon series to world championship and world cup races.

So what are the major ITU challenges ahead of the Triathlon New Zealand life member, New Zealand Order of Merit recipient (in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List) and former Triathlon New Zealand president?

“We want to grow the brand, take the sport globally from the 163 (ITU member) countries to over 200 national federations all over the world,” he said yesterday.

International Olympic Committee support

With that will come greater financial support from the International Olympic Committee and a continuous place for triathlon on the ultimate sporting stage, the Olympic Games.

Gender equality is also important to Sheldrake. He says triathlon is the only Olympic sport with a female president — Spaniard Marisol Casado, who was voted in for a third consecutive term at the congress. Four of the 10-strong executive board are women and the athletes’ representative is two-time Olympic triathlete Jessica Harrison of France.

Extending the sport’s reach in Africa and getting a mixed teams relay, on top of the men’s and women’s races, at the 2020 Olympics are also high on the ITU’s list, says Sheldrake.

And he is confident Casado and the board will achieve that.

“It’s a phenomenal team. We’re like family, we know each other so well.”

As to the current situation for New Zealand triathlon, Sheldrake acknowledges the funding cut for the sport following a disappointing Rio Games although “it (the cut) was not as bad as I thought it was going to be”.

He is excited at the recent appointment of 2004 Olympic champion Hamish Carter as temporary high-performance manager for Triathlon NZ following the resignation of Graeme Maw.

He has “huge respect” for Carter and believes the sport will only go forward under his influence.

Sheldrake is also confident that Gisborne’s Tayler Reid (trained by Sheldrake’s son and former professional triathlete Stephen) will achieve his goal of making it to the 2020 Olympics.

Sheldrake has seen the sport at every layer. From smiling kids wearing Weet-Bix Tryathlon participation medals to teary-eyed champions standing at the top of the Olympic dais.

“They are great people,” he says of professional triathletes. “And it’s a great sport. A lot of them are travelling on their own. Some of them have coaches but a hell of a lot of them travel on their own and grow as individuals.”

It is Sheldrake’s intention to help grow even more.

A JOURNEY Terry Sheldrake has described as “amazing” will continue for the next four years at the very top administrative end of the sport he loves.

The Gisborne-based events management company owner has been appointed to the International Triathlon Union executive board for the next four years.

Thousands of kilometres away from the ITU base in Switzerland, Sheldrake will play a top-echelon role in further globalising the sport in the cyclic run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

It’s a far cry from his triathlon beginnings as a keen member of a small group of amateurs who decades ago set up the Eastland Triathlon Club in his home town.

But it is also a natural progression for a man with now vast experience and technical knowledge and credentials for running triathlon races up to the highest level.

Those skills and the international respect and reputation he has earned over the years are the reasons he attracted the necessary votes from 120 federations at the ITU Congress in Madrid this month.

Only seven of the 13 federations in the Oceania area — of which New Zealand is part — attended the congress. That meant Sheldrake needed support from federations from the other four continental regions.

He clearly received that and believes it is his hands-on experience and qualifications that got him those voting paper ticks . . . something he says he feels “personally quite proud of”.

It was perhaps no surprise. The current Oceania Triathlon Union president and Level 3 qualified ITU technical official has been involved for 25 years in triathlon races ranging from club events to Olympic Games.

He continues to run the ITU World Cup event in New Plymouth and remains involved with the Oceania Triathlon Union development programme, on top of the events run by the company (TMS Sport Promotions Ltd) he and wife Kathy own.

Add to that the hundreds of events he has been part of — from the massively successful Weet-Bix Tryathlon series to world championship and world cup races.

So what are the major ITU challenges ahead of the Triathlon New Zealand life member, New Zealand Order of Merit recipient (in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List) and former Triathlon New Zealand president?

“We want to grow the brand, take the sport globally from the 163 (ITU member) countries to over 200 national federations all over the world,” he said yesterday.

International Olympic Committee support

With that will come greater financial support from the International Olympic Committee and a continuous place for triathlon on the ultimate sporting stage, the Olympic Games.

Gender equality is also important to Sheldrake. He says triathlon is the only Olympic sport with a female president — Spaniard Marisol Casado, who was voted in for a third consecutive term at the congress. Four of the 10-strong executive board are women and the athletes’ representative is two-time Olympic triathlete Jessica Harrison of France.

Extending the sport’s reach in Africa and getting a mixed teams relay, on top of the men’s and women’s races, at the 2020 Olympics are also high on the ITU’s list, says Sheldrake.

And he is confident Casado and the board will achieve that.

“It’s a phenomenal team. We’re like family, we know each other so well.”

As to the current situation for New Zealand triathlon, Sheldrake acknowledges the funding cut for the sport following a disappointing Rio Games although “it (the cut) was not as bad as I thought it was going to be”.

He is excited at the recent appointment of 2004 Olympic champion Hamish Carter as temporary high-performance manager for Triathlon NZ following the resignation of Graeme Maw.

He has “huge respect” for Carter and believes the sport will only go forward under his influence.

Sheldrake is also confident that Gisborne’s Tayler Reid (trained by Sheldrake’s son and former professional triathlete Stephen) will achieve his goal of making it to the 2020 Olympics.

Sheldrake has seen the sport at every layer. From smiling kids wearing Weet-Bix Tryathlon participation medals to teary-eyed champions standing at the top of the Olympic dais.

“They are great people,” he says of professional triathletes. “And it’s a great sport. A lot of them are travelling on their own. Some of them have coaches but a hell of a lot of them travel on their own and grow as individuals.”

It is Sheldrake’s intention to help grow even more.

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