End of the road for the BTA

I really don't have time today to type up a long missive about the future of triathlon organisation in the UK. Am off to Florida in the morning to race Escape from Fort De Soto on Saturday(yes, I'm leaving it a bit late I don't arrive until 9-hours before the race) and then do the St Anthonys season opener the following w/e.

Suffice to say Henrys piece on triathletes UK isn't at all news. For about 2-years since the first BTA One Stop Plan was introduced there has been a plan to move away from one single British organisation to regional organisations.

The most visible part of this was to introduce an organisation to oversea triathlon in England, but it doesn't stop there. The regions will likely become much more powerful, in fact the board of Triathlon England, or whatever its called, will be made up potentially only of the Chairs of the Regional organisations or their deputies. Within the regions, as can be seen from todays BTA website, they want to further spread involvement by introducing Triathlon Action Groups to break down the regions into smaller geographicals chunks to encourage higher levels of participation in the organisation. How many here have ever been involved in their region or been to one of its meeting?

Now, as I understand it, British Triathlon isn't going away, and while it will definately continue to be responsible for things like the elite program, it will still be the major organisation overseeing age group competition and money flowing into the sport.

This model is exactly the way the government wants sport to be managed as is exactly the model that UK Sport and Sport England etc. want to drive development and funding through, so its no surprise that at least previously the board of the BTA were chasing... everyone follows the money.

You may take the opinion that this is good, bad or you are indifferent. It depends on how you view the future of the sport and if you even care. If your fulltime job depends on it, you are definately going to take a different view than someone who wants lower race entry fees and really isn't interested in being a member of their national association.

Like most triathletes I want to share the joy I've got from participating, from achieving the unthinkable, from racing in amazing places and meeting tons of brilliant, positive, do-it kind of people, however, as much as I want to leave a legacy in the sport, I really can't ever see it becoming a mass participation, and thus question the need for what will essentially become a 5-layer organisation... those that have followed my ramblings for the past 6-years know my war cry has become.... the suits are coming!

Now, thats not to say some of the new headcount in British Triathlon isn't doing a brilliant job. My RDSO Ben Campion has been fantastic in his first year, and has and continues to make things happen in Eastern Region, I've seen a lot of activity from other RDSOs as well.

And of course... now MG/ROver has gone down the pan along with much of our other manufacturing sector, farming is under constant threat from the EU/WTO, we have to accept and realise that we are going to have to employ people somehow to spend all the money that the massive out of town shopping centres are being built for, and to buy the stuff from the legion of Wicks/Homebase style shops are selling now that we can do it ourselves instead of employing people to do it... the question is, is triathlon the right sport to support that through a 5-layer organisation or do we need a single strong national body that economically supports a small and constantly refreshed body of manically focussed and enthusiastic members?

Glad I'm short of time, I wonder what I might have writtent otherwise? My passing thought, this is a BIG deal and its not about personalities. As much as I didn't agree with Peter Coulson, I didn't dislike him as a person. I like Jasmine as a person, and I like what she has done with the sport but its going to take more than a single personality to change the direction of the ship now, especially when its not clear who is driving it, the Captain or the First Mate.
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