'Too old' tag spurs Ellice to go for broke to get back funding

Last updated 09:32 16/02/2013
tdn Clark Ellice
Clark Ellice

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New Plymouth triathlete Clark Ellice has a point to prove when he races at Takapuna tomorrow.

"More to myself," he said ahead of the super sprint event - a 500m swim, a 16km bike and a 4.2km run, which is part of the Contact Tri Series.

"I want to win, definitely. I'm the No 2 Kiwi, but I've been told I'm too old. I've just got to give it my best and put it out there."

Ellice's funding from Triathlon New Zealand was cut last month after he failed to make its high performance squad of 14 athletes.

The snub came a week after the 30-year-old finished third in the inaugural Ironman 70.3 in Auckland.

The axing means he misses out on funding of $30,000 and a chance to participate in the New Zealand squad's training base in the south of France.

"I just have to step up this year and get back into the top 10 in the world series. Maybe then, they'll look at me and I'll get funding for next year."

Ellice's main rival tomorrow is New Zealand No 1 Ryan Sissons.

"He's got his funding for the year. He's as happy as Larry. He's the one to beat."

Sissons, Andrea Hewitt and Kate McIlroy were the only three triathletes who made the "podium" category of Triathlon New Zealand's programme, with 11 others making the development squad.

Ellice said he had been training hard over the last month, working on his leg speed.

"The Takapuna race is a bit of a change from the half ironman in Auckland on January 20. I've changed my training . . . a lot more aggressive training trying to get extra speed in my legs."

Last Saturday was a big day for Ellice.

He took part in the Wells New Plymouth half ironman, swimming the 2km open water leg for a team. Then he headed for a session at the track at Bell Block doing eight sets of 1km runs.

To finish off, he headed to Huirangi and competed in Cycling New Plymouth's 40km road race.

"It was pretty busy. I was first out of the water, about 15 to 20 seconds ahead of Graham O'Grady," Ellice said. "That was pretty good. And I finished fourth in the road race."

The Takapuna field includes world No 13, Frenchman Tony Moulai, and some of New Zealand's best under- 19 and under-23 athletes.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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