Triathlon: TAS stands by decision not to send Howe for SEA Games, picks reserve Suriadi

TAS high-performance manager Eugene Ong says that he issued six reminders to Winona Howe after the deadline to submit her training programme, and she finally handed in a general plan to team manager Steven Chan that was incomplete, with her timings m
TAS high-performance manager Eugene Ong says that he issued six reminders to Winona Howe after the deadline to submit her training programme, and she finally handed in a general plan to team manager Steven Chan that was incomplete, with her timings missing.PHOTO: COURTESY OF WINONA HOWE
Singapore national triathlete Christy Suriadi (above) has been nominated to take part in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in place of Winona Howe, who was dropped as she failed to submit a proper training plan to TAS.
Singapore national triathlete Christy Suriadi (above) has been nominated to take part in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in place of Winona Howe, who was dropped as she failed to submit a proper training plan to TAS.TNP FILE PHOTO

Perth-based triathlete failed to submit proper training plans to justify SEA Games inclusion

The Triathlon Association of Singapore (TAS) has stuck by its decision not to send Winona Howe to the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.

The 22-year-old was not among the two woman triathletes named for the event - despite being the top finisher in the TAS' selection race in January - when it announced its nominations in an e-mail on Monday night.

The other top finishers in January - Wille Loo, Clement Chow (for the men's event) and Denise Chia - have been nominated, with Games reserve Christy Suriadi taking Howe's place.

"Despite numerous reminders, Winona failed to fulfil her obligations to submit (proper) training plans to TAS and update us on her progress," said TAS high-performance manager Eugene Ong, who was part of a three-member panel that made the decision.

"TAS was forced to drop her from the SEA Games team, as we are not able to verify her fitness, form and commitment."

Howe's training plans had been at the centre of a dispute between her and the TAS, over the association's selection policy and criteria.

The Perth-based triathlete had argued that she was not made aware of the specific details required by TAS, saying that the requirements had changed from that needed for the 2015 SEA Games.

WHY HOWE WAS DROPPED

Despite numerous reminders, Winona failed to fulfil her obligations to submit (proper) training plans to TAS and update us on her progress. TAS was forced to drop her from the SEA Games team, as we are not able to verify her fitness, form and commitment.

EUGENE ONG, high-performance manager of Triathlon Association of Singapore (TAS), on the decision to drop Winona Howe from the SEA Games squad.

The TAS, however, said it had conducted a briefing session on Jan 21 for the top three men's and women's qualifiers for the Aug 19-30 SEA Games, a group which included Howe.

Then, the athletes were given a March 14 deadline to submit their training programmes. When the deadline passed, Ong said he reminded Howe on six occasions from March 15 to April 3 to submit her programme, but did not receive anything.

"When Winona submitted a general plan to (TAS) team manager Steven Chan on April 25, it was incomplete, with her timings missing," added Ong.

"Athletes must be accountable to us, as we are also accountable to our governing bodies."

Howe's chances of going to the SEA Games took a further blow after a June 4 race in Taipei, where she finished last in a 15-strong field in 2hr 44min 51sec, behind eventual replacement Suriadi, who was ninth in 2:20:27.

Howe's loss is Suriadi's gain.

"It's always been my dream to represent Singapore at the SEA Games," said the 20-year-old. "Even as a reserve, I haven't slowed down in my training because I believed there was always a chance (of going to the Games)."

The Straits Times understands that Howe has not appealed against the decision. She did not respond to further queries by press time.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2017, with the headline 'TAS stands by decision not to send Howe'. Print Edition | Subscribe