Super League Triathlon loss splits opinion

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TRIATHLETE Ollie Turner has described the Government of Jersey’s decision to pull finding for the Super League Triathlon as ‘devastating.’

£250,000 per year of government funds were allocated between 2018 and 2022, but last year’s edition was scrapped due to loss of private sponsorship.

Following the expiration of the current States’ agreement, the decision was made to no longer support Jersey’s hosting of the event, with deputy Lucy Stephenson saying that ‘the decision was made to not allocate funds to the SLT this year, but they are more than welcome to re-apply for consideration in future years.’

Turner said: ‘It’s certainly a massive shame on a personal level, but also for everyone interested in sport on the Island.

‘With that being said, we are in a difficult economic climate, and I understand that difficult choices around funding allocations must be made.

‘The amount of uptake in the sport locally since the Super League Triathlon first came to Jersey has been incredible.

‘Many kids, who may have never had exposure to the sport had we not have hosted to event, have now fallen in love with it.

‘We won’t see the overall impact the event has had for a number of years, but I firmly believe that the level of Triathlon will improve locally through the exposure to Super League.

‘We as an Island have obviously done some exciting things in sport with the British Lions and England Rugby visiting, but from a more niche perspective, I think hosting the SLT was very important to show children and adults alike, that there are many sports available.

‘I have seen a lot of Islanders get more involved with charity triathlons, all the way through to competitive triathlons.

‘It is very sad to see us lose Jersey as a host venue, but I am really grateful for having the chance to race here.

‘The memories I have of racing around the harbour in front of family and friends, I don’t think will ever be topped.

‘I get goosebumps remembering them times, the noise from the crowd was deafening.’

While Turner believes that the staging of the event did have a profound effect on local participation levels, Jersey Sport Chief Catriona McAllister holds a different view.

She said: ‘It is a very difficult decision for the government.

‘They’ve invested in the event for a number of years, which brought along with it some good visitor engagement to the Island.

‘But I don’t think we really saw that benefit reflected across local sport.

‘There wasn’t necessarily an increase in long-term physical activity or participation in local sport that we would like to see that level of funding generate.

‘Give that, I think the government’s decision to look at that sum of money and how it can be better used across more localised events, is the right one.

‘Our hope, is that some of that funding will become available for sports to use in different ways.

‘Funding is a huge challenge across the board and I think we need to remember that.

‘While having these high-profile athletes on our door-step was a fantastic opportunity, it has been supported for a number of years now.

‘Having the same event year after after can dwindle the impact it has, so the opportunity of hosting other high-profile events is worth exploring.’

While the short-term curtain has closed on Jersey’s SLT involvement, the door remains firmly ajar for other world class events to expand into the Bailwick.

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