18 Dec 2015

Tonks unlikely to coach Drysdale again

11:30 am on 18 December 2015

Mahe Drysdale's rowing coach says a falling-out with Rowing New Zealand means he won't be coaching the Olympic champion to next year's Games in Rio de Janeiro.

New Zealand rowing coach Dick Tonks.

New Zealand rowing coach Dick Tonks. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Dick Tonks has been helping a Chinese crew in what he says is his spare time at Lake Karapiro, where New Zealand's rowers are based.

Tonks says he received a letter from Rowing New Zealand's lawyers saying his contract would be terminated as a result.

He says he has not coached Drysdale since Monday, and the chances of coaching him to next year's Olympics are slim.

"At this point it doesn't look very likely, New Zealand Rowing has to let go and somebody else takes me on board and takes the crews on board and we do it outside of New Zealand Rowing, that's the only way.

Tonks said the only way that could happen is if he carried on as Drysdale's coach outside the umbrella of Rowing New Zealand.

Tonks said he had not coached his other Olympic crews, the women's single and double sculls, since the weekend.

New Zealand Rowing and Tonks met yesterday but were unable to come to an agreement.

A statement from Rowing New Zealand said it was trying to achieve the best outcome for its athletes and was aiming for a positive outcome for all involved.

Just last week, Rowing New Zealand received a $100,000 boost in funding to $5.3 million from High Performance New Zealand (HPSNA) for 2016 towards their Rio Olympic campaigns, following a successful year of competition.

However, HPSNA has said it will not be getting involved in the dispute.

In a statement, chief executive Alex Baumann said: "Rowing New Zealand has kept me informed of the situation, but it is an operational matter for them to resolve.

"I retain full confidence in rowing's wider high-performance programme, and their ability to deliver medals for New Zealand at the Rio Olympics," he said.