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“They don’t give a s***” – David McNamee lambasts British Triathlon involvement in long-course racing

British triathlete David McNamee lambasts British triathlon for lack of support.

Staff Reporter
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Having twice finished on the podium at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, David McNamee is one of the best British men ever in long-distance triathlon.

After finishing a fantastic seventh at the PTO Tour US Open, which moved him 12 places up the PTO rankings to #24, McNamee also looks to be one of the best middle-distance men in the country right now.

However, despite his current and previous successes, the Scottish-born athlete claims he has no support from British Triathlon, with the federation he says often causing more harm than good, a topic he discussed in the most recent episode of “Talking Triathlon”.

British Triathlon meanwhile have responded to his comments, saying they do not have sufficient funding to support long-course triathletes, but hope to do so in the future.

“They don’t give a s***” – McNamee

Whilst it isn’t uncommon for long-course triathletes to make their money from sponsors as opposed to their federation, McNamee says the national federation in the UK takes non-support to another level.

“With regards to long course, in Britain it is all about the Olympics, as it is something that gives people national pride and I think the general public in the UK only know Alistair and Jonny [Brownlee] when it comes to triathlon.

“I don’t know if it’s the lack of media from British Triathlon and not pushing it out there, but when it comes to long-course triathlon they don’t give a s***, they genuinely don’t and I do not have any communication with British Triathlon.

“The only time I have ever had communication with British Triathlon is when they’ve wanted me to pay for my British Triathlon suit for World Long Distance Championships, that’s it.”

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Lack of support, lack of growth

As host Tim Ford explained the nightmare he says he had been put through when dealing with his athlete Joe Skipper and British Triathlon ahead of the World Long Distance Championships in Ibiza, McNamee highlighted that the federation had been even more challenging to deal with in previous years.

“In 2021 in Almere, they refused to let me have my own sponsors on my kit, even though these are the people that pay me to do the sport. Most countries, when you compete at the Long Distance Champs, offer some kind of support, but British Triathlon do nothing.

“Much smaller countries, with a fraction of the budget of British Triathlon, like the Spanish Federation, support their athletes and I know that because I live in Spain, but UK give zero. You pay your own entry and you are basically an Age Group athlete in their eyes.

“That’s the way it is, they genuinely don’t care and then they also put more hurdles in the way when you try and make a living from the sport, and I think that’s a part of the reason long-course hasn’t grown as it should have in the UK.” 

Responding to McNamee’s claims, British Triathlon shared a statement underlining that they do not currently have the money at their disposal to support long-course athletes in the UK, adding that athletes were also free to advertise sponsors as they wish outside of major championship races.

“The National Lottery funding that British Triathlon receive is ringfenced by the respective funding partners, UK Sport and Sport England, specifically for use in Olympic and Paralympic disciplines and for grassroots participation. Whilst we have aspirations to offer greater support in the future, we do not currently have access to alternative funding streams to provide financial resource to the long-distance community that other nations may currently have.

“All athletes competing for Great Britain in World Triathlon and European Triathlon elite races have freedom of choice to source and display sponsors on their suits at all events outside of the World and European Championships where they wear a British Triathlon trisuit. This is the same across short and long course athletes, and they are free to sign deals with any partners that they choose.”

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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