Ashley appointed kayaking boss
Former Olympic champion windsurfer Tom Ashley has been named as the new chief executive of Canoe Racing New Zealand.
With an in-depth knowledge of high-performance sport, from both athlete and administration aspects, Ashley has been picked to take over from outgoing chief executive Mark Weatherall after the latter’s successful four-year tenure.
Ashley, who won gold in windsurfing in Beijing in 2008, has spent the subsequent nine years building up his professional portfolio. He worked as an Olympic programme consultant and specialist planning advisor for Yachting NZ and the former New Zealand Academy of Sport, graduated as a lawyer and worked at Russell McVeagh in Auckland, and for the last four years has run the Chinese Olympic windsurfing programme.
Ashley is looking forward to returning to New Zealand and working with the burgeoning kayaking programme.
“CRNZ’s program has been gaining momentum over the last few years under Mark’s leadership and there is currently a group of really strong athletes and coaches,” Ashley said. “I’ll face two exciting challenges in this role - the first will be to continue to support the current team and make sure they get what they need to achieve their goals in Tokyo 2020 and the second will be to find ways to build on the current momentum to inspire a new generation of paddlers into the sport.”
New Zealand kayakers enjoyed their most successful world championships ever in August, winning four medals, including golds to Lisa Carrington and Caitlin Ryan in the K2 500m and Carrington in the K1 200m.
Aimee Fisher also picked up New Zealand’s first-ever under-23 world championship titles a month earlier, collecting the K1 200m and 500m double, while competitor numbers across the sport continue to swell.
Ashley, who will start his new role in February, has a recreational background in paddling surf skis and has had contact with top paddlers in the past through his high performance roles.
One of his first tasks in the new job will be overseeing CRNZ’s move to a new high performance base at Lake Karapiro, where building work has just been completed.