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Strong interest in betting support on Kiwis

Media Release Thursday 14 August 2008

Strong interest in betting support on Kiwi athletes in China

The New Zealand TAB is reporting strong interest in betting support on the Kiwi athletes currently competing for gold medals in China.

TAB bookmaker Kevin Gutschlag said there had been lots of interest in supporting Kiwi athletes at the Games and turnover was up about 40 per cent compared to the same time at Athens four years ago.

However, the TAB has not named any of New Zealand's high medal hopes as favourites to win their events with the best hopes considered to be shotputter Valerie Vili, BMX rider Sarah Walker, and triathlete Bevan Docherty, who are all currently second favourites with the bookies.

"Every time you take a bet on sport through the TAB, you're doing a lot more than getting behind your favourite player or team and giving yourself the chance to win big. You're also helping sport grow in this country, because a percentage of every dollar goes straight back to New Zealand sport," Mr Gutschlag said.

The TAB is not offering odds on the rowing and yachting events as it is still negotiating with those sports governing bodies to get odds introduced.

Shotputter Valerie Vili is seen as second most likely to snatch gold in the women's field event with odds of $3.25, well behind strong Belarusian favourite Nadzeya Ostapchuk, who is paying $1.65 for the win. The final of the women's shotput is on Sunday 17 August at 1.10am (NZ time).

Seasoned campaigner Beatrice Faumuina is considered well out of contention for gold in the women's discus, paying $80.00 for the win. The final of the women's discuss is on Monday 18 August at 11pm.

Nick Willis is also considered an outside chance for gold in China, paying $40.00 to win the men's 1500m. The final of the men's 1500m is scheduled for Wednesday 20 August at 2.50am.

Kawerau local and Rotorua BMX Club member Sarah Walker has been pipped for the favourites tag in the women's BMX event by British rider Shanze Reade. Walker is paying $4.75 for the gold medal compared to Reade's $1.42. The women's BMX final is on Thursday 21 August at 2.30pm.

In the men's BMX race, New Zealand's Marc Willers of Cambridge is fifth favourite, paying $7.50 for a gold medal. The men's BMX final follows the women's final at 2.40pm on Thursday 21 August.

In cycling, the New Zealand men's team pursuit team of Hayden Roulston, Marc Ryan, Westley Gough, Sam Bewley, Jesse Sergent, and Peter Latham is fourth favourite to win, paying $15.00. The final of that event is at 10.20pm on Monday 18 August.

In the women's triathlon Sam Warriner is considered New Zealand's best hope at third favourite to win gold, paying $7.00 for the win. Debbie Tanner and Andrea Hewitt are paying $12.00 and $20.00 to win gold respectively The women's triathlon is on Monday 18 August at 2pm.

Taupo triathlete Bevan Docherty has drawn level second favourite for the men's triathlon paying $7.50 for the gold medal. The TAB has put world number one Javier Gomez of Spain, the most likely to cross the finish line in first place, paying $2.50 in comparison. Other Kiwis competing in the men's triathlon Kris Gemell and Shane Reed are paying $15.00 and $30.00 for a gold medal, respectively. The men's triathlon is on Tuesday 19 August at 2pm.

Under the Racing Act 2003, the New Zealand Racing Board, which operates the TAB, can only offer odds on sporting events with written agreement from the appropriate New Zealand national sporting organisation.

Also under the Act, the Board is required to pay 1% of fixed-odds betting turnover and 5% of gross profit from fixed odds sports betting back to the appropriate national sporting organisation each year.

In 2006/07, the New Zealand Racing Board distributed more than $2 million to 29 New Zealand sporting bodies from wagering during that year.

Since wagering on sports was introduced through the TAB in New Zealand in 1996, more than $17.5 million has been distributed back to sporting bodies. The TAB is New Zealand's sole provider of betting on racing and sport. Ends

NB - please note:

1. Times of the events are indicative only and are subject to change. 2. All times are listed as NZ time. 3. Odds may also vary from listed above - get updated odds on the TAB's website


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