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Sailors First To Join New Zealand Olympic Team


15 November 2007: The New Zealand Olympic Committee has named the first members of the New Zealand Olympic Team to Beijing 2008.

Olympic selectors named sailors Barbara Kendall, Tom Ashley, Jo Aleh, Andrew Murdoch and Dan Slater as the first members of the team at a media conference today.

The New Zealand Olympic Team to Beijing 2008 is expected to comprise around 150 athletes and will include New Zealand’s 1000th Olympian.

New Zealand Olympic Committee Secretary-General and selector, Barry Maister, is delighted to have the team underway.

“The sailors named today have won a string of medals and championships throughout the pre-Olympic build-up and have left New Zealand Olympic Committee selectors with no doubt they warranted an early selection.

“The New Zealand Olympic Committee aims to give athletes every opportunity to excel at an Olympic Games. In working with Yachting New Zealand to confirm the sailors’ selection as soon as possible we believe we have enabled the athletes to better prepare for Beijing.

“Our selection criteria are tough. The five sailors we’ve named today have easily met our criteria and demonstrated their ability to record a Top 16 finish with a strong prospect of Top 8 or better next year. We’re delighted to welcome them to the New Zealand Olympic team and we know they’ll make us proud.”

Each of the sailors selected to the New Zealand Olympic Team to Beijing 2008 will compete in a different class. Barbara Kendall – RS:X Board – Women, Tom Ashley - RS:X Board - Men, Dan Slater – Finn, Andrew Murdoch, Laser and Jo Aleh, Laser Radial.

Yachting New Zealand’s Olympic Director, Rod Davis, believes the early selection of the first five members of the sailing team will allow the sailors to move from qualifying to preparation phase.

“Debriefs from past Olympic Games have strong recommendations for early selection. The earlier our sailors have their minds set on the Olympic Games, the better.

“Qingdao, the Beijing 2008 co-host city where the sailing will take place, is a difficult venue as far as weather and conditions go and we want our sailors to be able to train for the type of conditions we can expect.”

The first members of the New Zealand Olympic Team cover a range of ages and experience. While Jo Aleh, Andrew Murdoch and Tom Ashley are in their early twenties, Olympic Gold Medallist, Barbara Kendall recently turned 40 and is heading into her fifth Olympic Games. She will join a select group of only three New Zealanders who have represented their country at five Olympic Games.

The majority of selection announcements, including further yachting announcements, will be made in 2008 as teams and individuals meet New Zealand Olympic Committee selection criteria.

Notes to the Editor

About Selection and Qualification
Selection policy for the New Zealand Olympic Team is approved by the Board of the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

The qualification criteria, as set by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is distinct from the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) selection criteria, as set by the NZOC.

The New Zealand Olympic selectors are New Zealand Olympic Committee Secretary-General Barry Maister; and NZOC Board Members, Simon Wickham who is CEO of Waitakere Trusts Stadium and Mike Stanley who is Chief Executive of the Millennium Institute.

Athletes selected to the New Zealand Olympic Team to Beijing 2008 must have met a series of criteria including having demonstrated an ability to finish within the top 16 at the Olympic Games with the potential to win an Olympic Diploma (Top 8) or medal.

Teams need to demonstrate they have the ability to progress beyond pool play and enter the play-off phase of competition.

Criteria vary between sports and are established in conjunction with the national sporting organisation (NSO) concerned and published on the New Zealand Olympic Committee website (

About the New Zealand Olympic Committee

The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) is an independent organisation responsible for providing inspirational experiences for athletes at the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games Federation and Youth Games.

The NZOC actively promotes the history and values of the Olympic Movement through a wide variety of cultural and educational programmes, and operates according to the Olympic Charter and Commonwealth Games Federation Constitution.

The NZOC is funded principally through corporate sponsorship, trusts, Sport & Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) and the International Olympic Committee.

To find out more about the NZOC please visit


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