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First two athletes enter Pinnacle mentor programme

4 April 2006

First two athletes enter Pinnacle mentor programme

Olympic Laser sailor Andrew Murdoch and international wakeboard star Andrea Fountain are the first two athletes inducted into Pinnacle, the world championship mentor programme backed by Hyundai.

Murdoch, 23, of Kerikeri, is building towards a world title bid in Portugal in mid-2007 and subsequently the Beijing Olympics 2008.

Fountain, 24, from Auckland, will contest the world championships in USA this September and is being mentored towards the 2007 equivalent. She leaves this month for the World Circuit of Wakeboarding, a four-event series across the northern hemisphere in which she is the defending champion.

Murdoch, a member of the NZ Olympic yachting squad, also leaves shortly to compete in the northern hemisphere this NZ winter.

The only organisation of its kind in New Zealand, Pinnacle works outside the field of competition, preparing young athletes for world-best performance by mentoring a range of professional and personal skills. Each athlete remains in Pinnacle for about 18 months.

Andrea Fountain and Andrew Murdoch have already begun the Pinnacle mentoring programme called Twelve Pillars. On return to New Zealand next spring they will work intensively towards their 2007 world title bids.

They have also received physical benefits including the use of a Hyundai Tucson vehicle each.

“Since we launched Pinnacle six months ago, we have received dozens of applications from some highly talented young sportpeople,” commented the Chief Executive of Pinnacle, Ian Miles.

“In Andrea and Andrew we have identified two extraordinary athletes.

“In our criteria we make it clear we are seeking the X factor, that additional quality that sets certain young people apart and which helps make Kiwi athletes successful on the world stage.

“It’s clear we have found that factor in each of these young competitors and it’s something we will be building on as they are mentored through Pinnacle.”

Pinnacle applicants are assessed by an Advisory Board. The programme is backed by Hyundai Automotive NZ, a member of the Giltrap Group and the only NZ-owned and operated mainstream vehicle distributor.

“The Pinnacle programme and now these athletes are fortunate to have the backing of an organisation which looks beyond the immediate goals of sponsorship to something which can make a positive, lasting impression within New Zealand sport,” Mr Miles added.

Pinnacle applications remain open ongoing and further athletes will be inducted. At any one time as many as half a dozen sportspeople may be in the programme.

“Pinnacle mentoring is an intensive, methodical, one-on-one process with a number of experienced sports professionals imparting their knowledge and leading the way,” Mr Miles explained.

“The process cannot be rushed and we cannot provide it to more than a few people at one time.

“We are talking about ultimate performance at the very highest levels in world sport, where the tiniest margins usually make all the difference. That demands the utmost effort in everything we do.

“It’s not easy to get into Pinnacle, then again it demands levels of effort and professionalism which not all young sportspeople are prepared to reach towards.”

Athletes can collect an application form from Hyundai dealers nationwide. The website has further details.

“We are delighted with the contribution Hyundai has begun to make to New Zealand sport through Pinnacle,” commented Philip Eustace, Managing Director of Hyundai Automotive NZ and a member of the Pinnacle Advisory Board.

“I think it’s now obvious to everyone that this undertaking is partly altruistic, as much as sponsorship; that is consistent with the contribution of the Giltrap Group over decades in New Zealand.

“At Hyundai we remain committed to our senior athlete programme and our support for a range of sports and organisations, as part of the spectacular growth Hyundai is enjoying in the New Zealand market.

“We continue to enjoy our association with Barbara Kendall, Hamish Carter, Nathan Astle and Scarlett Hagen, and we have relished our involvement with successful groups and events such as this summer’s Hyundai National Surfing Championships and Longboard Championships.

“Now in Pinnacle we have the opportunity to make a further contribution to New Zealand sport by helping prepare the international champions of the immediate future.

“Worldwide Hyundai is a big supporter of sport at the Olympics, World Football Cup and elsewhere.

“There are strong parallels between the development of Hyundai’s strong range of dynamic new vehicles, the fastest-growing mainstream vehicle brand in the country, and the preparation of New Zealand’s finest sportspeople performing on the world stage,” said Mr Eustace.



frequently asked questions

Who can apply?

Any young NZ sportsperson preparing for a world title bid in the next
12 – 24 months.

What sports?

You can be involved in any recognised NZ sport which has a world title or equivalent.

How good do I need to be?

You must be capable of winning a world title or equivalent in the next year or two, and preparing your buildup now

Do you train me?

Not in your sport, that’s for your coaches etc. We train you in the essential activity outside of actual competition – activity which will be crucial to your success.

So what do I get?

Support. It’s not about getting, but showing. Pinnacle will mentor you to become a professionally-focused sportsperson. The material benefits, including funds and a vehicle, follow. Part of the programme shows you how to identify outside sponsors and land contracts, that’s one of the Twelve Pillars.

Don’t others do this work?

Various organisations offer support of different kinds. Pinnacle will work with athletes receiving other support, providing the mentoring in areas not covered to complete the picture. It’s like putting together a jigsaw. Pinnacle will also accept athletes not supported elsewhere.

What are the Twelve Pillars?

Tuition in professional, personal and organisational skills

Personal development: in sport and in life
Motivation & psychological
approach to the sport overall
Mental preparation for the event
Competition analysis
Risk assessment
Family, friends, relationships
The price of fame

Professional career development: running your career
Career plan
Financial, legal, insurance
Media: Reactive - how to handle
Proactive - running a
media/communication programme
Sponsors, contracts and
Public profile

Who’s behind it?

Sports professionals, backed by Hyundai.

Where is Pinnacle based?

Nationwide. Pinnacle has Advisory Board members throughout NZ. Application forms are available from Hyundai dealers nationwide.

How do I apply?

Collect an application form from your nearest Hyundai dealer.

Where can I find out more?

Advisory Board

Barbara Kendall
Athletes Commission member, International Olympic Committee
NZ Olympic Committee Representative
Olympic athlete

Trevor McKewen
General Manager, Sport, Fairfax NZ

Simon Peterson
Chief Executive, Sport Auckland
Chairman, Paralympics NZ

Philip Eustace
Managing Director, Hyundai Automotive NZ

Howard Spencer
General Manager, Hyundai Automotive NZ

Ian Miles
Chief Executive, Pinnacle

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