Darren Coombes has been appointed as the new CEO of Triathlon Ireland and will take up the position from September.
Earlier this year Chris Kitchen announced his intention to step down and return home to Britain but he will remain a figure of influence within the sport retaining his Vice Presidency of the European Triathlon Union.
During Kitchen’s seven-year period at the helm of Triathlon Ireland, membership increased from less than 8,000 to almost 19,000, the number of clubs rose by 20%, while female participation reached 36 per cent.
In 2019, Triathlon Ireland had a record turnover of more than €2million.
Coombes has served as Operations Director at the organisation since 2015 and has been instrumental in leading the organisation’s response to the impact of Covid-19.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has massively impacted us in 2020, but I’ve been really proud of the reaction of our staff team and the wider triathlon club community – we have all been agile and innovative in providing value and support to our members.”
“I think we have all developed a greater appreciation of what the sport brings to our lives and I am looking forward to engaging with the community in the short term as we see events come back on stream, and in the longer term as we plan for a successful 2021 and beyond.”
“I am certain that Darren will develop the team and take the sport on to another level to the benefit not only of all the triathlon community but also for sport in Ireland,” said Kitchen.
“Triathlon Ireland has big aspirations and it is important to have a leader to enable us to deliver on these. Darren is that leader,” added Triathlon Ireland President Lochlann Walsh.
“I and the board know that his proven passion, hunger for success and talent will deliver on our ambitions and we are delighted to appoint him as our CEO.”
Prior to his time in Triathlon Ireland, Darren Coombes was Operations Manager in Table Tennis Ireland and Project Executive with the Football Association of Ireland.
He was recently appointed as General Secretary of the Association of Commonwealth Triathlon Federations and as a Governance and Strategy Expert Mentor with World Triathlon.
Under his direction, Triathlon Ireland became one of the first sporting bodies in the country to achieve the Governance Code for Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations.
His other accomplishments include achieving sustained membership growth, driving commercial partnerships and building strong relationships with the organisation’s funding partners based on delivery against targets.
Coombes describes himself as an ‘active back of the pack triathlete’ and volunteers occasionally with the Football Association of Ireland as an elite Referee Coach and Instructor having spent 12 years refereeing at the highest level in Ireland.
He is originally from Dublin and currently lives in Athlone with his wife Rhona and two young children Lucy and Ethan.
Triathlon racing is set to resume this weekend (Saturday, July 25th).
In April, Triathlon Ireland successfully hosted the first virtual AGM by an Irish sporting body and earlier this month the organisation concluded its two virtual competitions of the lockdown period which attracted more than 1,200 participants and raised in excess of €10,000 for charity.