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World’s best extreme sports stars return for X*Air

NEWS RELEASE
9 January 2006

World’s best extreme sports stars return for X*Air

Over 80 internationals have already confirmed they will be returning to Wellington for Vodafone X*Air on January 21 and 22. The free action sports event is the largest extreme sports event in the southern hemisphere.

This year boasts a line-up of international extreme sports athletes unmatched by any other sporting event in the country and organisers are in the unique position of having to turn international competitors away.

Vodafone X*Air organiser Mark Wright believes how the event is run is a major drawcard for athletes. “Many overseas extreme sports events are television and profit-driven which takes away much of the enjoyment for the athletes. We keep the event pretty relaxed and mainly use a jam format which makes the competition more relaxed and the environment more like hanging out and riding with your mates.”

The jam format also allows the athletes to push each other and encourages outstanding performances like that of last year’s Haro BMX street winner Alistair Whitton from the United Kingdom. Whitton pulled his first ever backflip tailwhip (spinning the bike 360 degrees underneath him while performing a backflip) to take out the top prize. The roster of talent he will compete against this year includes X Games and Gravity Games legends Ryan Nyquist, Corey Bohan, Stevie McCann, Gary Young, and Ryan Guettler.

Kiwi BMX star Haimona Ngata sums up the calibre of athletes he will be competing against as, “like being invited to go a round with Tiger on the PGA. These guys are the superstars of the sport.”

The skate, inline and FMX components are also shaping up to be the toughest competition seen in New Zealand. United States skate stars who are part of the Element skate team, Colt Cannon and Tosh Townend say they are “psyched” to be coming to Wellington for the first time. Both are part of a new wave of action sports stars, who have their own custom shoes and equipment, and making six figure salaries in endorsements, says Mr Wright. “Colt and Tosh epitomise what professional extreme sports are all about – talent, progression, freedom and fun. We’re encouraging everyone to get along to the city and check out these guys.”

Vodafone X*Air is part of Wellington City Council’s Meridian Energy Summer City festival of free summer events. A copy of the Meridian Energy Summer City programme can be picked up from all City Council facilities and at cafes and supermarkets throughout the city, or by calling the Council on 499 4444 or logging onto www.Wellington.govt.nz

For more information about the Vodafone X*Air athletes visit www.vodafonexair.co.nz

Wellington City Council news releases are also available daily as Web Alerts through the Council's website, www.Wellington.govt.nz. To subscribe, select the Web Alerts icon on the home page.

ENDS

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