Several Swiss athletes do not wish to work with new National Coach Jordi Meulenberg

Jordi Meulenberg. (Picture: website Swiss Triathlon)

The arrival of Dutch triathlon coach Jordi Meulenberg, who was presented at the end of May as the new ‘National Coach’ at Swiss Triathlon federation, is not going entirely smoothly. Several Swiss athletes are familiar with the problems which occurred at the Dutch Triathlon Federation the past few years and in which Meulenberg played a role, and therefore they prefer not to work with him.

Several Swiss athletes involved have told Triathlon Today that they have expressed their concerns to their federation, but that nothing is being done about it as of yet.

The Dutch Triathlon Federation was discredited last year after the Dutch triathlon website shared a publication in which dozens of top athletes were spoken to, all of whom opened up about mismanagement, bullying and poor coaching. For example, according to the athletes involved, coaches – Meulenberg was mentioned several times in the external investigation that followed – were often disruptive in the process of athletes, would clearly favor their favorite athletes and allowed bullying between athletes but also between staff and athletes. In addition, after investigations by 3athlon and from statements by Dutch pro athletes, it appeared that the Dutch Triathlon Federation sold so-called A-statuses – with which Dutch athletes receive money to prepare more specifically for the Olympic Games – to athletes who, based on level, just did not qualify for such a status. 

While the investigations to the Dutch Federation are still ongoing, Director Rembert Groenman and Technical Director Adrie Berk already left the Dutch Triathlon Federation a few months ago. Jordi Meulenberg followed at the end of May and then joined the Swiss Federation. 

Inquiries with the Swiss Federation, as to whether they are aware of the concerns their athletes have expressed about Meulenberg, prompted Managing Director Mattia György to respond as follows: 

“For our part, we do not wish to take sides on facts that may have happened but have not been clarified yet. There are no direct accusations against Jordi Meulenberg known to us.”

“Consequently, we do not rely on supposition or rumours, but only on clear and established facts. Of course, we will immediately take an official position and consequent decisions if there are clear and established facts from official bodies.”

“On top of it, in Switzerland we have set up an independent structure, Swiss Sports Integrity, to which any athletes can turn in the event of complaints about violations of the ethics chart.”

“This year the Swiss Triathlon Delegates Assembly also accepted and put the new ethics chart into our statutes. We believe in and respect these values, just as we respect the law and believe in the procedures it defines.”