By Tom Degun

alistair brownleeMarch 31 - Brendan Purcell, the new performance director at British Triathlon, says he is looking to help top athletes such as Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee stay head of their international rivals in the lead up to Rio 2016.

British Triathlon were hugely successful at the London 2012 Olympics as Alistair Brownlee secured the gold medal in the men's event with younger brother Jonathan taking the bronze medal just behind him.

Jonathan Brownlee also claimed the men's ITU world title while on the women's side; Helen Jenkins took fifth place at London 2012 in what was the best ever finish at the Olympics by a British woman.

But despite Britain's huge triathlon success last year Purcell, who has taken up the new position from his previous performance role at the British Canoe Union (BCU), says improvements need to be made if Britain wants further medal success at Rio 2016.

"London 2012 was obviously hugely successful for British Triathlon but that has gone and the task for us now is to build on that momentum," Purcell told insidethegames.

"We have been one of the world leaders in the last few years but we can't now just sit around and wait for the rest of the world to catch up and overtake us.

"We must work as hard as possible and continue to develop our programmes so we can stay ahead of the pack heading into Rio 2016.

"We do that by continuing to ask ourselves how we can improve in every way.

"It is very exciting for me on a personal level to come in and work with some of the top guys in the world like Alistair and Jonathan.

"These guys are exceptional talents and they have a clear picture of where they are going.

"The team and I need to provide them with the right tools so that can get to where they need to go.

"I am in a lucky position where I can ask questions of the team that is in place and challenge them to continue to improve.

"That is our goal, not to stand still but to get better."

Brendan PurcellBrendan Purcell is the new performance director at British Triathlon having helped guide British Canoeing to medal success at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Purcell joins British Triathlon after a hugely successful London 2012 with the BCU where he led the coaching team supporting the successful medal-winning GB sprint team, including Ed McKeever, who won gold in the K-1 200 metres.

In his new role, the Australian will head up both the triathlon and Para-triathlon programmes, which he feels is an exciting challenge.

"With Para-triathlon, we are also currently one of the world leaders," he said.

"We have five ITU Para-triathlon World Champions from last year but people will now be trying to catch up with the sport making its debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

"That means more investment from other countries so it means that on the Para-triathlon side, we need to continue to work hard to stay ahead of the pack.

"It is a difficult challenge for us but also a very exciting and motivating one."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
December 2013: British Triathlon make key appointments after London 2012 success