Paddle Australia regrets to announce that National Performance Director, Shaun Stephens, will leave the organisation on 8th October, having accepted a new role with the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS).
Stephens, who took the helm of Paddle Australia’s high-performance program in January 2017, has successfully led the canoe sprint, slalom and para canoe high-performance and pathways programs for the last five years. These efforts recently culminated with Australia taking four gold, one silver and one bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Paddle Australia CEO, Phil Jones, said Shaun’s contribution has been significant and that the organisation would be sad to lose him.
“Shaun made an immediate impact on our high-performance programs. His passion and enthusiasm to the sport is tremendous,” said Jones
“The results our athletes achieved at the recent Olympic and Paralympic Games are just the tip of the iceberg, with consistent results achieved year on year at the World Cups and World Championships, maintaining Australia’s strong reputation internationally.
“Whilst we are disappointed to lose Shaun, his new role as Executive Director of High Performance Programs at the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) will still see him supporting paddling. It is good to know we will be able to call on him for his advice and guidance. We know Shaun’s passion for paddling will continue as he tackles his new role at the QAS and we wish him every success.
“The great news is we have a strong program, talented and dedicated athletes and staff, great support from the AIS and State Institutes, including the QAS, and some fantastic results to point to. All this means we can continue to build on the great work done during the last Olympic and Paralympic cycle,” he said.
For Stephens, he said “This was an exceptionally difficult decision for me to make but is the right one for me and my young family. There is never an easy or good time to make such a decision but coming out of a highly successful Olympic and Paralympic Games campaign and with an exciting and ambitious strategic plan for high performance firmly established, I’m confident the program is in a really strong position and allows someone else to lead this fantastic team towards Paris 2024 and beyond.
“I feel very honoured and extremely privileged to have met and worked with an amazing team of athletes, coaches and support staff during the past 5 years.
“Together we have navigated through some intense challenges, remained flexible and adaptable whilst remaining firmly fixed on continuous improvement. I am eternally grateful for the support I have received throughout this journey and paddling is a sport that I will remain passionate about and will hold very fond memories of in the future,” he said.
Paddle Australia will advertise for the role of High Performance Director in the coming weeks.