Triathlon New Zealand today announced a ground breaking partnership with the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation (formerly the Halberg Trust) to forge a pathway for disabled people in Triathlon, focused primarily on entry level beginners and children.
In order to deliver on the partnership with the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Foundation, Triathlon New Zealand has appointed highly respected former elite triathlete Shanelle Barrett to the role of Inclusion Manager to oversee the facilitation of the new programme.
Barrett has worked in the sport for a number of years and is currently contracted part time as Technical Manager with Tri NZ, developing officials within New Zealand and officiating at the highest level in the sport with the ITU.
Tri NZ Operations Manager - Community and Events Haidee Stratford will oversee the work with the Foundation and is delighted at Barrett’s appointment, made possible thanks to a grant from the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation ‘NO Exceptions Funding’.
"Shanelle is hugely respected by the triathlon community and is so passionate about the sport but also about working with disabled youth so this is in a way the perfect role for her to throw her energies into."
The role is focused on assisting young disabled people to get into the sport of triathlon whether that is the local Kids Weet-Bix Tryathlon event, the Contact National Schools or simply learning how to swim, bike and run.
"The recruitment process saw in excess of 100 people apply which is a very positive thing for both Tri NZ and disability sport," said Stratford. "We had a very high calibre of applicants with experience either in the sport, in the disability sector or both with Barrett the stand out candidate."
Barrett has considerable experience working with children in sport and can’t wait to get started in her new role.
"I’m very excited to accept the role of Inclusion Manager - I am passionate about the sport of triathlon and also about working with disabled people so this is a dream role for me.
"Much of the role will be working with disabled children and again this is something that excites me - most children, whether they have a disability or not, need some encouragement and direction to get involved with our sport and the sense of achievement that comes from taking part in a triathlon is something that they will remember for a long time.
"It will be a very rewarding role which will be the start for triathlon becoming accessible to all athletes around the country and will follow on from the successful Paratriathlon event that was held in Auckland and of course the inclusion of Paratriathlon at the Rio Olympic Games means children can dream as big as they want to, regardless of their disability."
Andy Roche, Halberg Disability Sport Foundation’s Disability Sport Adviser is also delighted with the partnership. "I think triathlon is an ideal sport for disabled people and we were delighted when Triathlon NZ applied to become a NO Exceptions sport in partnership with us.
"With Shanelle’s appointment, more disabled people will have access to this great sport and we are confident that an increase in participation numbers at grass roots level will also be reflected in Paralympic medals in years to come."
Barrett will commence her role immediately, representing Tri NZ in working with a number of agencies and organisations in mapping out the pathway for disabled participants in triathlon, including:
- Tri NZ Paratriathlon Committee
- Halberg Disability Sport Foundation
- Disability Sport Coordinators from Halberg
- Tri NZ Event Director, Director of Coaching, Technical Manager, High Performance
- Current and potential disabled athletes
- Paralympics New Zealand
- Regional Para Feds
- Event Promoters e.g. Weet-Bix Kids Tryathlon
- International Triathlon Union
- Regional Sports Trusts, Schools and Triathlon Clubs