Athletics: Chairman criticises decision to disestablish Bates' job

Raylene Bates
Raylene Bates
High Performance Sport New Zealand's decision to disestablish Raylene Bates' administrative and co-ordinating role for elite sport in Dunedin was criticised yesterday.

Bates had been in charge of the business and finance role for the New Zealand Academy of Sport (South Island) since its its inception in 2000.

Her job is now done by High Performance Sport New Zealand staff at the organisation's headquarters in Auckland.

"I feel that not enough thought went into the move," Excellence in Sport South Island chairman Mike Piper told the Otago Daily Times at the annual meeting yesterday.

"They did not take account of the work that Raylene has done for high performance sport over the last 12 years.

"They only looked at the position she was in and did not realise that Raylene was a guiding light for high performance sport within the Otago community."

The Academy of Sport has had headquarters in Dunedin since it was formed in 2000. It is now known as Excellence in Sport South Island.

Piper said Bates had the ability to deal with stakeholders in her community, such as the Dunedin City Council and Sport Otago.

"There must be a role for her in Otago sport and recreation in some capacity," Piper said.

"Her experience is so vast, she is so efficient and has the personality that relates so well to everyone.

"For over 12 years our organisation has had the services of Raylene in an administrative and co-ordinating role.

"Her contribution has been huge, and it was her efforts that made it possible for the new high performance facilities alongside the Forsyth Barr Stadium to be completed to such a high standard.

"All parties had confidence in their dealings with her. Dunedin can be proud of the new facility thanks to the efforts of Raylene Bates."

Piper praised the Dunedin City Council for the decision to build the facility.

"It is a high performance hub for Dunedin and youngsters have to know that there is a facility in Dunedin that they are able to use as part of their own training programmes," he said.

Piper wants the High Performance Sport New Zealand board to recognise that a lot of New Zealand's top athletes grew up in the regions, as indicated by the background of New Zealand medallists at the London Olympics.

"The regions play an important role in talent development in New Zealand sport and must be given the infrastructure to do the job properly," Piper said.

Piper lives in Invercargill and has been instrumental in establishing a fulltime position in Southland for strength and conditioning specialist Simon Jones.