Kiwi Olympic veteran Andrea Hewitt's triathlon career is hanging by a thread after having her funding cut by the sport's governing body in New Zealand.
The 37-year-old two-time Commonwealth Games bronze medallist confirmed to the Herald that she had been "de-carded" by Triathlon New Zealand in March after she chose not to be part of this year's World Series.
De-carded athletes don't qualify for funding.
This has seemingly ended Hewitt's storied 13-year career at the top level - dashing her hopes of competing at a fourth Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.
"It would be hard for me to qualify. With the criteria currently set out, it's all about world rankings," Hewitt told the Herald.
"It's been top 16 or top 12. Then the other factor with Triathlon New Zealand is the mixed team relay and whoever is in that is in the individual events, and I didn't make that team for last year's world championships."
Hewitt (along with Ryan Sissons, Nicole van der Kaay and Tayler Reid) claimed bronze in the mixed relay event at last year's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games but has been disappointing since, finishing 20th in the World Series standings last season - the first time that she had failed to make the top 10. As a result, Hewitt also didn't receive any performance grants.
She admits she's struggled with prioritising mixed relay over the individual event, in which she won Commonwealth Games bronze in Melbourne in 2006 and several World Championship medals.
"I've been doing a lot of thinking. Last year there was a lot of pressure to focus on the mixed team relay, and that was quite hard. I've never really thought about that and just done the individual race," Hewitt said.
But she insists she hasn't officially retired from the sport.
"I can't say I am because I competed in the Sea2Sky triathlon in Sumner in March so if I was retired, I'd be sitting on the couch. And I'm not doing that yet. I feel like retiring is just stopping completely and I haven't done that, so maybe I'll just compete at a different level."
"I've got a race planned for July in Germany, and I've been overseas. I raced in the Caribbean in March. I've joined the New Brighton running club so I'm going to do the cross-country season, and I'm looking at doing the Christchurch marathon in three weeks."
She also won't criticise TNZ, who received taxpayer funding of $750,000 from High Performance Sport NZ this year.
"It all comes back to funding. Triathlon New Zealand's had a lot of restructuring and like cycling, there have been a lot of problems so I guess we'll just see where it goes from here."
Last year, Sissons, the country's premier male triathlete, hit out at the organisation after being controversially excluded from the mixed team relay for the World Championships after a change in his training regime put him at loggerheads with TNZ.
Chris Pilone, who coached Hamish Carter to a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics, also told the Herald last September the sport "should not be the recipient of public money", as a result of what he described as their lack of accountability.
TNZ did not respond to the Herald's request for comment.