Three of Triathlon Ireland’s senior athletes are to receive carded funding handed down by the Irish Sports Council for 2014. The ISC’s International Carding Scheme provides €1.6 million in funding to be distributed amongst 85 athletes from 15 different sports.
Aileen Reid is to receive the top level of funding this year up from ‘World Class’ level of €20,000 in 2013 to ‘Podium’ level of €40,000 in 2014. The funding increase is a welcome boost following Ireland’s best ever triathlon result when Aileen secured silver in the World Triathlon Series Grand Final in London.
Bryan Keane is to remain on funding of €12,000 at ‘International Level’. He is currently ranked 47th in the World but is aiming to progress into the top 20 this season. A strong opening to his Olympic Qualification campaign is also high on his agenda when the qualification period opens on the 15th of May.
For the first time 22 year old Ben Shaw will receive funding of €12,000 at the ‘International Level’ of carding. Ben has just recently come on program with Triathlon Ireland and will be racing ITU World Triathlon Series and World Cups throughout 2014. Rio Olympic Qualification will be a major target for the former World Junior Aquathlon Champion. Highlights of Ben’s 2013 season, when he raced under the ITU banner include gold at the Singapore ITU Asian Cup and elevating his world ranking to number 44.
Irish Olympian Gavin Noble has unfortunately missed out on ISC Carding for 2014. Noble spent much of 2013 rehabilitating from knee surgery and raced just one ITU European Cup, hence not meeting the ISC’s Carding Criteria. Noble did however go on to win both the Sprint and Standard Distance National Championships and Ironman 70.3 Zeel am See in Austria.
Former World & European Age Group Champion Conor Murphy was another to miss out on carding despite a number of top 10 ITU results in 2013. He was taken down in a crash in Japan when a podium finish was within sight and spent weeks recovering with sever road rash. Had he been able to avoid that crash he likely would have been eligible for International level carding. Murphy’s ranking currently stands at 96th, however he will be confident he can improve upon that this season. With his top 100 ranking the Armagh man will now get starts in the top tier World Triathlon Series, including Auckland, Cape Town, Yokohama, London and many more. He will kick his season off at the Mooloolaba World Cup on March 15th.
A further 17 members of Triathlon Ireland’s Junior Performance Squad and 4 U23 & Development athletes will be supported by Triathlon Ireland directly, through athlete services and financial assistance.