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Drug Free Sport Campaigners United By The Pledge


For release: 20 August 2008

Drug Free Sport Campaigners United By The Pledge


Youthtown and Drug Free Sport NZ are joining forces to create a 'Pure Playing Field Nation'.

The two organisations have formed a strategic partnership aimed at encouraging young New Zealanders at all sporting levels to stay away from drugs.

"We can take enormous pride in the achievements of our Kiwi athletes in Beijing. Equally impressive is the huge proportion of our Olympic squad and other top sports people who've signed up to our 'United By The Pledge' campaign, with many proudly wearing our campaign's green wristband," says Andrew Sylvester, Education Programme Manager of Drug Free Sport NZ.

"With Youthtown's help, we'll now be taking the campaign a rung higher. We want to build a Pure Playing Field Nation, in which all young people identify participating in sport with staying absolutely drug free.

"Our message to young New Zealanders is that the only true path to sporting achievement at any level is through hard work, application, honesty and fair play. There are no short cuts and, if you use drugs, you may well be harming yourself and will certainly be selling yourself short." he says.

Youthtown is a charity trust that aims to help young people express themselves, develop skills and build self-esteem, in safe, open and stimulating environments.

As part of its commitment to Drug Free Sport NZ, the trust is currently funding a 'United By the Pledge' advertising campaign, featuring Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell, Moss Burmester, Debbie Tanner and Paora Winitana. Amongst other top performing athletes about to join the ranks are Richie McCaw, Kyle Mills, Jerome Ropati and Monty Betham.

In addition, Youthtown will be partnering with Drug Free Sport NZ in its own marketing and at a range of youth events across New Zealand, with leading sportspeople in attendance to reinforce the message.

"We're delighted to be partnering with Youthtown, an organisation that shares our values and has been promoting healthy and enjoyable physical activity for more than 75 years. Many high achievers in sports as diverse as weightlifting and basketball have cut their teeth under the Youthtown banner," Mr Sylvester says.

"The Youthtown brand is highly respected and considered 'cool' by young people. The trust is now in the process of expanding from a largely Auckland-based body into a nationwide organisation, making it an ideal partner for Drug Free Sport NZ," he adds.

Youthtown's Development Manager, Greg Weller, describes the association with Drug Free Sport NZ as providing new opportunities for helping young people enjoy themselves in healthy and positive ways.

"From now on, when you opt into Youthtown's own well-established drug free approach, you will know that you're part of a much bigger effort and that you're united by the pledge with the sports stars who are doing New Zealand proud. We're honoured to be part of this undertaking," he says.


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