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Debbie Tanner & Storm Uru Join Pinnacle Programme

Tanner and Uru join Pinnacle

Two of New Zealand's most promising young athletes are the latest to join the ranks of the Pinnacle sports mentor programme.

Olympic triathlete Debbie Tanner

Olympic triathlete Debbie Tanner and world under-23 rowing champion Storm Uru have just been inducted into sought-after Hyundai scheme.

World Under-23 Rowing Champion Storm Uru

Pinnacle is a New Zealand organisation, backed by Hyundai, which provides young athletes with a range of professional and personal skills to help them reach world-best status.

Tanner, 25, from Auckland, has already qualified top New Zealand woman for the Olympic Games at Beijing next August. Fourth at the Commonwealth Games last year, she also won the World Cup event at Ishagaki, Japan, and was runner-up in the equivalent event in Hamburg, Germany.

Uru, 22, is from Invercargill now based with the national Olympic rowing squad at Cambridge. The lightweight sculler has won the world under-23 title the past two years. He also has been Maori Sportsman of the Year the past two years, at last month's ceremony additionally taking the supreme award as Maori Sportsperson of the Year and a world champions award.

Uru has contested five international regattas, achieving a medal every time; two were at elite level and three at under-23. He aims to qualify for next year's Olympics in the lightweight double sculls and is already looking beyond there to London in 2012.

As Pinnacle athletes, Tanner and Uru join another Olympic aspirant, Kate McIlroy of Wellington, 3,000-metre steeplechaser.

Foundation Pinnacle athlete Andrew Murdoch of Kerikeri, Olympic laser sailor, and Commonwealth gold medal swimmer Moss Burmester of Tauranga both recently graduated from the programme.

Another foundation athlete, Andrea Fountain of Auckland, world championship wakeboarder, is approaching the conclusion of her time in Pinnacle.

Established in 2005, Pinnacle is recognised by high-performance coaches for its benefits to elite athletes in organisation of their lives and in positive mental preparation; areas crucial for success but not addressed in current sports high performance programmes.

Building on the athlete's physical conditioning and their technical training in their sport, Pinnacle mentors a range of skills outside the field of competition, which are often the difference between success and failure at the highest level.

The programme is based on 12 Pillars, covering everything from media and sponsors to mental motivation and the price of fame.

The Pinnacle programme considers these to be skills essential as athletes take the step to true professionalism, and which conversely have often been the undoing of competitors as off-field issues impact on their performance.

Mentoring comes from within Pinnacle and Hyundai and from a range of outside experts. Athletes also receive a new Hyundai vehicle and some financial help.

Typically they remain in Pinnacle for 12 to 18 months building to a world championship, Olympic or similar title bid.

Although Hyundai is a strong sponsor of sports and sportspeople in this country, Pinnacle is partly a philanthropic undertaking by Hyundai Motors NZ and its 100 percent New Zealand ownership, with the objective of helping New Zealanders succeed on the world stage and creating more positive roles models for the nation.

Pinnacle covers all sports; currently many applicants are from individual sports rather than teams but every application is closely considered on its merits.

Application forms are available from Hyundai dealers. Information is at www


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