Rowing NZ high performance manager resigns amid climate of fear claims

Athlete power has claimed another high profile official in New Zealand elite sport, with Rowing New Zealand high performance manager resigning.

Day 1 of the FISA Rowing World Cup on Lake Malta
Day 1 of the FISA Rowing World Cup on Lake Malta Source: Getty

1 NEWS understands Alan Cotter resigned following the results of a recent independent review.

Cotter, 61, had been with New Zealand Rowing since 2008, stepping into the role following the Beijing Olympics.

1 NEWS understands that the review delved into the culture of New Zealand Rowing, with some athletes accusing the organisation of putting success above their wellbeing.

It's understood Cotter was reprimanded over the treatment of rower James Lassche, who yesterday was selected as the bowman for the New Zealand men's eight which will be travelling to the World Championships in Bulgaria.

Rowing NZ has denied the claims, however.

It is understood that more than 55 people, including athletes and support staff were involved in the interviews for the review, amid claims of a climate of fear.  

Cotter's resignation comes less than 24 hours after the New Zealand squad to travel to next month's World Championships was finalised.

Cotter is a former New Zealand coxswain, who steered the New Zealand eight to a bronze medal at the World Rowing Championships at Karapiro in 1978.

He also won a silver medal in the eight at the World Championships in the former Yugoslavia a year later.

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Cotter is the latest casualty among New Zealand sport's internal reviews, with Cycling New Zealand's Anthony Peden stepping down after more claims of bullying, as well as allegations of a relationship with an athlete, while Football Ferns coach and NZ Football CEO Andreas Heraf and Andy Martin both stood down after similar claims.

A source told 1 NEWS that Cotter's departure is a result of the sanitising going on in high performance sport in New Zealand at present.


In a statement, Rowing NZ said it held a review in April.

"The well-being of our athletes and the culture of our organisation is paramount to everything we do," the statement said.

"We are constantly evaluating how we are performing both on and off the water. It is important we are not looking backwards at the outcomes of campaigns but continue to look forward, so we can refresh and continually improve to maintain our place as world leading in the high performance environment. Alan Cotter agreed to resign for this to occur."

It said there had been no formal complaints or allegations against Cotter.

Cotter's final day will be on September 21 at the conclusion of the World Rowing Championships.


'This isn't the best place for everyone' - Humble NZ coach Eugene Bareman plays down role in success of Kiwis in the UFC

New Zealand mixed martial arts coach Eugene Bareman who doesn't like to make a fuss about himself, is the man responsible for turning out four Kiwi UFC fighters out of City Kickboxing gym in Auckland.

Early in UFC middleweight star Israel Adesanya's fighting career Bareman advised him to check out other gyms.

Adesanya, 29, linked up with Bareman in 2009 as an amateur with the Kiwi coach taking him on fulltime in 2010.

"The truth is there are other good gyms around, they should stay open minded. This isn't the best place for everyone," said Bareman.

"Just like there are other great fighters in New Zealand and they are thriving in a different environment other than this one.

"For all the guys I give them the opportunity to train wherever they want, but most of them at the end of the day end up training here."

Bareman also coaches Kiwi fighters UFC lightweight Dan Hooker and newly signed UFC flyweight Kai Kara-France.

"It's tremendously satisfying and to start to make a name (City Kickboxing) internationally," he said.

"At the same time not to sound too egotistical, we kind of knew we could do this. But we just needed the right time and opportunity and now it is all happening."

Adesanya is set to fight US middleweight Derek Brunson on November 4 at UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Hooker hasn't got a fight in the UFC lined up with Kara-France still yet to announce his debut fight in the MMA organisation.

The flyweight said he was cheering on his former coach Cejudo, who was crowned the new UFC flyweight champ at the weekend. Source: 1 NEWS

Both fighters are hoping to land a spot on UFC's Fight Night event in Adelaide on December 1.

Bareman has four fighters in the illustrious UFC organisation. Source: 1 NEWS


NZ lightweight MMA fighter Dan Hooker juggling two jobs, teaching MMA and competing in UFC

New Zealand mixed martial artist fighter Dan Hooker is juggling two jobs, training fighters in his new gym in Auckland all the while fighting the world's best UFC lightweight fighters inside the octagon.

Hooker has opened up his own gym, Combat Academy in Ellerslie.

"I feel like I'm in the game, ahead of the game and I can pass that on to my students," said Hooker.

The 28-year-old fights out of City Kickboxing gym in Auckland and is teammates with UFC middleweight Israel Adesanya and newly signed UFC flyweight contender Kai Kara-France.

"There (Combat Academy) I am the head coach, here (City Kickboxing) I am just another body on the mat.

"I am a student, I am always learning, always grinding."

He is currently on a four fight win streak in the UFC, defeating his last opponent Gilbert Burns in sensational fashion by knockout in the first round last month at UFC 226 in Las Vegas.

"I was straight back into training when I got back into Auckland so I am just looking to get another fight lined up," he said.

"I'm ranked now, so I'm number 14 in the world. So it's just like trying to pick a fight with one of those guys (top 10 lightweight fighters)."

Hooker hopes to get a shot at fighting on the UFC's Fight Night in Adelaide in December.

"It's notoriously difficult to get a ranked fighter to accept a fight with you and I'm finding out that the hard way.

"I think it's good to stay relevant and active in the sport as well as coaching."

Hooker has a record of 18 wins with seven losses in MMA.

He has won seven bouts either by submission or KO in the UFC with three unanimous decision losses.

Hooker is looking to line up another fight on the UFC Fight Night Adelaide card in December. Source: 1 NEWS