Ryan Sissons would have quit Triathlon New Zealand if high performance director Graeme Maw stayed on

Kiwi triathlete Ryan Sissons is glad to see the back of Triathlon New Zealand HP director Graeme Maw
Robert Charles/FAIRFAX NZ

Kiwi triathlete Ryan Sissons is glad to see the back of Triathlon New Zealand HP director Graeme Maw

Kiwi triathlete Ryan Sissons would have quit Triathlon New Zealand (TNZ) if high performance director Graeme Maw had stayed on. 

Maw, who has been in the job for the past four years, resigned from his post on Wednesday and will finish up at Christmas. 

Sissons didn't hide his approval of Maw's decision to resign, posting a meme on his Twitter page with the words "cultural saboteur" and "get out".

Graeme Maw is stepping down after four years as Triathlon NZ high performance director.

Graeme Maw is stepping down after four years as Triathlon NZ high performance director.

While he later removed the tweet, the 28-year-old didn't hold back when contacted for comment, and said he almost quit the sport altogether last October after he and Maw banged heads.

* Maw resigns as HP director
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"Sometimes he was trying to get the best out of me, but I just felt that I was the one always losing out and I was always the one to blame for everything - bad results, you name it," Sissons said.

"I just felt that wasn't the case and maybe it should be turned around and looked at the other way and there might be other people involved as to why I wasn't going as good as I should."

Instead of quitting the sport a year ago, Sissons, who finished 17th in the men's race at the Rio Olympics and admitted his performances weren't up to scratch the past year, left the TNZ high performance programme and found a new coach, former French triathlete Laurent Vidal.

When Vidal, who was engaged to Kiwi triathlete Andrea Hewitt, died from a heart attack last November, Sissons appointed Chris Pilone for a second stint as his coach. 

Sissons still received support from TNZ, which he was "extremely grateful" for, but said he would have been willing to walk away from that support had Maw continued.

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"If Graeme was still in the role that he had moving forward, I would opt not to be part of Triathlon New Zealand at all," he said.

"I guess that would have made my life a lot more difficult having to self support my whole campaign. But for me, to have less conflict and noise going on in my trainings and campaigns, it would have been worth it.

"On a personal level, between how I feel with regards to with what I have had to deal with the past 12 months within the programme and how it's been run, then absolutely it's a positive change for me and it's certainly something that I was essentially pushing for."

Sissons said issues arose between he and Maw because he felt the programme was too controlling, particularly in terms of who he was coached by.

When he left the programme last October, he said it felt like he constantly had to prove to Maw that he was worth "some sort of support" from TNZ.

Sissons was part of the programme for two years and felt he wasn't getting what he needed from it to succeed at the highest level.

The Cambridge-based triathlete also pointed out that he felt TNZ was outsourcing coaches from overseas rather than investing in the future of the sport in the country by nurturing young coaches coming up through the ranks. 

"I don't feel [TNZ] has a culture that optimises performance and that was one of the reasons why I decided it was better to not be a part of it," Sissons said.

"I wanted a culture where I found myself happy and wanting to be involved and wanting to train. For me, there has to be much needed culture changes."

When reached for comment, Maw declined to comment beyond the fact Sissons was entitled to have an opinion. 



 - Stuff

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