Clark Ellice of New Zealand races in the 2012 ITU Elite
Men's World triathlon Grand Final in Auckland, New Zealand.
(Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
Clark Ellice has been cut adrift by Triathlon New Zealand
but is determined to go it alone in order to pursue his dream
of competing at next year's Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Only five days after his third place at the inaugural Ironman
70.3 Auckland in front of some of the biggest names in the
sport, it was announced that Ellice had failed to make
Triathlon NZ's high performance squad of 14 athletes, meaning
he will no longer be funded by the organisation. It is
understood that the annual funding is about $30,000 per
Only three athletes were selected for the high performance
"podium" category - Andrea Hewitt, Kate McIlroy and Ryan
Sissons. The other 11 fell into the development section.
Ellice, a reserve behind Sissons, Bevan Docherty and Kris
Gemmell at last year's London Olympics, knew he wasn't high
on Triathlon NZ's list of priorities but the announcement
still left a bitter taste. The 30-year-old said he had a lot
to offer younger triathletes but would not be welcome at New
Zealand's training base in the south of France.
"I got my guidance and my accelerated learnings from the
likes of Kris and Bevan and Hamish Carter and I'm a senior
athlete that's quite willing to help the likes of Bryce
McMaster and the younger guys coming through," he said.
"If they even let me stay at the base, I'd be quite happy to
help with mentoring ... but to completely cut me off, it's
just another bone of contention, really."
New Triathlon NZ high performance manager Graeme Maw conceded
his organisation had had to make several tough calls. Nicky
Samuels, 35th at London last year, also missed out.
Ellice, from New Plymouth, has already ruffled feathers at
Triathlon NZ - three years ago he was stood down for six
months for writing what were considered overly aggressive and
opinionated emails and Facebook postings.
He said he had no problem with Sissons being considered New
Zealand's No1-ranked male triathlete following the retirement
from the ITU series of Docherty and Gemmell. Aucklander
Sissons is ranked in the world's top-20 compared with
Ellice's world ranking of 30.
It was the feeling of being left out in the cold which irked,
Ellice said, adding it was up to him to prove himself on the
ITU circuit and increase his world ranking.
Ellice's Auckland podium finish behind Australian Christian
Kemp and Docherty in his first ever half-ironman distance on
January 20 had earned him precious prize money and he will
continue to race for money in the American 5150 non-drafting
circuit. An eighth-place finish at a 5150 series event in Des
Moines last year reaped him $25,000 and a bike and wheel
Ellice will enter the ITU series, which starts this year in
Auckland on April 6-7, with plenty to prove. His unorthodox
approach won't be limited to how he makes a living, either.
In order to increase his speed he is upping his swim mileage
and cycling racing in velodromes. He will fine-tune his
running at a camp in March.
"My attitude has changed a lot after being Olympic reserve,"
he said. "You've only got a limited time. There's more of a
sense of urgency to make it happen now. With that you're
fuelled with a different mentality and urgency in racing and
I've already started to see that."
Ellice said moving to longer-distance events was an option,
but added: "You have to listen to your heart and my heart
says Commonwealth Games and Olympics. If I didn't believe I
could do it then I would move on but I do believe I can do
2012: 8th, 5150 Olympic distance race Des Moines, Iowa
2009: 2nd, Oceania ITU Cup, New Plymouth
2008: 1st, national sprint championships, Taupo
Jan 3: 1st, Contact Tri Series race, Whangamata
Jan 20: 3rd, Ironman 70.3 Auckland