British Triathlon make key appointments after London 2012 success

Monday, 03 December 2012
By Duncan Mackay

Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee on bike London 2012December 3 - British Triathlon today announced Brendan Purcell as its new performance director and Ben Bright as the new head coach as it seeks to build on it sucess at London 2012, where Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee won gold and bronze medals.

Purcell will join British Triathlon from British Canoeing, where he is currently the sprint national performance, while Bright is rewarded for the success at London 2012, where he was the coach of the men's squad.

The Australian replaces Heather Williams, who stepped down after London and has now joined British Canoeing, starting last month as its new talent pathway manager.

Purcell has worked with elite sports programmes for over ten years, including a role leading Australia's diving programme. 

Brendan Purcell head and shouldersBrendan Purcell will join British Triathlon from British Canoeing, who enjoyed a successful London 2012

He then joined the GB Canoe Sprint programme prior to Beijing 2008, and at London 2012, he led the coaching team supporting the successful medal-winning GB sprint team, including Ed McKeever, who won the K-1 200 metres.

"Brendan's background of working with elite athletes within an Olympic multi-medal winning programme is exceptional," said Zara Hyde Peters, the chief executive of British Triathlon.

"He has shown he has the essential skills to be an excellent leader of the programme supporting our Lottery funded elite athletes and I have great faith in what he will achieve."

Purcell will inherit a programme which not only saw Alistair Brownlee claim Olympic gold medal but also his brother Jonathan lift the world title in October.

"It's a great opportunity and I am delighted to have been offered and accept the job," he said.  

"Over the next few months, I will spend time listening to those who currently already make a significant contribution to triathlon. 

"I also intend to use the knowledge I have gained from my involvement in other world-class programmes combined with the outstanding development triathlon has already made in Britain to help provide the structure that enables British elite triathletes to achieve gold medal-winning performances."

Bright, a New Zealander who competed in the very first Olympic triathlon at Sydney in 2000, finishing 38th, has been involved in British Triathlon for several years and coached Tim Don and Hollie Avil, who competed in Beijing in 2008. 

He was appointed men's Olympic coach in May 2011 to focus solely on London 2012, a decision that proved stunningly successful.

"Ben's experience in Olympic discipline elite triathlon is recognised throughout this country and the world," said Hyde Peters.

"He is greatly respected amongst those he has worked with - both athletes and coaches. 

"This respect is well deserved and will contribute massively to his success in fulfilling the head coach role alongside Brendan."

Ben BrightBen Bright played a key role in the success of Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee at London 2012

For Bright, who won the world junior title in 1994, it is an opportunity to build upon the success of the Brownlees and also Helen Jenkins, last year's world champion.

"The success the team achieved in London is a fantastic launch pad and the aim for the next cycle is to continue to support those athletes who have performed so well in the past, whilst at the same time developing the next generation to become Olympic medallists," he said.  

"British Triathlon has a world-leading programme and I'm looking forward to working within such a high performing team and using the momentum built over the last few years to further embed a culture of success."

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