DORNEY, England (Reuters) - New Zealand’s outspoken kayaker Ben Fouhy ended his career with one final explosion on Monday, a foul-mouthed rant aimed at his country and its canoeing system after he crashed out of the London 2012 Games.
Known almost as much for his ability to pick a fight as his kayaking prowess, Fouhy castigated the Sport New Zealand body for what he described as a lack of support coming into the Games.
“It stings a little, finishing your career like this but I held a world record for five years and I’ve been a world champion,” he told reporters after coming sixth out of eight in the men’s 1,000 meter kayak single semi-final, more than four seconds behind the winner.
“You have a lot of detractors out there who like to kick you when you’re down, but that’s New Zealand for you. When I won the world title I’d spent all my savings and I was 10 grand in debt. They don’t seem to mind that when you’re winning but when you’re not winning, all of a sudden you’re a moaner.”
World champion in 2003, the 33-year-old won a silver medal in Athens and finished fourth in Beijing, but his career has been marked by clashes with sporting bodies over a range of issues from funding, coaching and the level of control he has over his own career.
He has quit twice before.
“They don’t want to know when the chips are down,” he said. “You get used as a political pawn.”
Reporting by Kate Holton, editing by Ed Osmond