Triathlon Australia: A woman Louise Savage once described as â€œa pioneer of wheelchair track and road coachingâ€ has been appointed Triathlon Australia’s first ever National Manager for Paratriathlon.
Triathlon Australia has pulled off a major coup with the appointment of one of Australia’s foremost Paralympic coaching figures in Kathryn Periac into the new role in the build up to Paratriathlon’s debut in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Among a long list of previous achievements Mrs Periac is a former National Head Coach of the highly successful 1996 Australian Paralympic Athletics Team; High Performance Manager for Athletics Australia and a former Performance Manager for UK Athletics (disability).
Until recently she held a key role at the Australian Sports Commission as a Senior Consultant (Leadership) in High Performance, Coaching and Leadership.
Last year Kathryn led the 2012 Paralympic Games International Coach Study Tour â€“ a 10 month program of development for coaches from seven Paralympic sports â€“ including triathlon.
In the decade leading up to the Atlanta Games, she was the World Wheelchair Games Athletics head coach in 1986, 1987 and 1989; the Wheelchair head coach for the 1988 Paralympic team in Seoul; Wheelchair coach of the 1990 Commonwealth Games and World Championships; a personal coach on the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona and the Wheelchair head coach at the 1994 World Championships.
Between 1990 and 2000 she served as the Athletics Program Manager for the Victorian Institute of Sport â€“ a program that included 2000 Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman, 1992 Olympic bronze medallist high jumper Tim Forsyth and marathon man Steve Moneghetti.
But it was Australia’s greatest female wheelchair athlete-turned coach Louise Savage who once referred to Kathryn Periac as â€œa pioneerâ€ of wheelchair coaching, and who, along with fellow coach Jenni Banks (who has just been appointed wheelchair head coach of the British Paralympic Team) was â€œone of her inspirationsâ€ in the early days of wheelchair coaching.
After an extensive selection process Triathlon Australia today makes the position official. CEO of Triathlon Australia, Anne Gripper has welcomed Kathryn to her new role, saying: â€œKathryn’s appointment, with her expertise, networks and credibility in Paralympic sport will ensure the quality and future success of Paratriathlon in Australia.â€
Triathlon Australia’s High Performance Director, Bernard Savage also knows how valuable this appointment is for Paratriathlon.
â€œKathryn will be a valuable addition to not only the Paratriathlon Program but to the entire High Performance area for Triathlon Australia,â€ Savage said.
â€œHer extensive and diverse international experience makes her the ideal person to lead this new aspect of the sport into the future.
â€œKathryn knows what winning programs look like and this is what we are confident she is going to create for Paratriathlon in Australia.
â€œI am very grateful to the APC and ASC for resourcing us to get this program up and running and for supporting the Paratriathlon pathway from participation through to the Paralympic level. It is a very exciting time for the sport of triathlon.â€
Periac herself can’t wait to start the ball rolling, saying: â€œI’m excited, I’m anxious and I’m a little nervous actually but really looking forward to this new role and looking forward to working with what I’m sure will be a group of very talented, dedicated athletes in the countdown to Rio.
â€œI have heard so much about and followed the arrival of Paratriathlon in recent years so to get the opportunity to work with a sport that will make its debut in 2016 will be challenging but no doubt rewarding.
â€œReigning world champion Bill Chaffey is just one athlete I’m looking forward to meeting and working with, and there are so many other talented athletes in triathlon, I can’t wait to start.â€
Mrs Periac will start work in her new role with Triathlon Australia on August 5 and within a month will accompany the Australian team to the ITU World Triathlon Championships in London (September 11-15).
Chaffey will line up to try and become one of the few Paratriathletes to win four World Championship gold medals after notching victories on the Gold Coast in 2009, Beijing in 2011 and Auckland in 2012.