An emotional Ben Fouhy has unloaded on top New Zealand sports officials after finishing his Olympic career.
The Athens 2004 silver medallist, whose successful career ended with a disappointing sixth-place in the London 2012 K1 1000m semifinal, reflected on a sporting life dogged by administration and political battles.
Fouhy, a former world champion and record holder, vented a stockpile of criticism aimed at Crown body Sport New Zealand, formerly known as Sparc, for undermining his career with a lack of trust and integrity.
Fouhy said at times, he had been used as a political pawn.
Two years ago Minister of Sport Murray McCully intervened in a scrap which almost saw Fouhy walk away from the sport for good.
The 2004 world champion quit in March 2010, blaming a breakdown in his relationship with national coach Ian Ferguson. But he has reversed his decision after he was allowed to operate outside of CRNZ's high performance system, thanks to McCully.
“It stings a little bit to finish your career like that,” Fouhy said.
“I'm disillusioned. I'm f...ing disgusted at Sparc. I don't mind them making decisions I don't like. But at least have the f...ing courtesy to get on the phone and tell me, or meet to my face.
“I've had a world record for five years and been a world champion, there's a lot of detractors out there that like to kick you when you're down.
“That's New Zealand for you, isn't it? They like to kick you when you're down.
“It's no secret that there's a couple of people in Sparc, some of them have moved on now, and you don't have to look further than Swimming New Zealand to see they [Sparc] are turning a blind eye to things.
“There's athletes out there busting their guts. We don't want to be wrapped in cotton wool, we just want to say we can believe in what we're doing.
“Some [Sparc] people were on my side, there's some brilliant people in there and we're very lucky. Some I cannot speak highly enough of.
“But there's a couple that people don't trust, and they're in charge, making decisions.”
“All I wanted was people to be honest with me, not lying on TV.
“They spent hours and hours talking to me, trying to get me back in the boat.”
Fouhy said the political issues have taken the edge off an otherwise successful career in canoeing.
- © Fairfax NZ News