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Win in skeleton event, NZ bobsleigh team record

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November 10, 2008

Dunedin athlete wins skeleton event, NZ bobsleigh team breaks record

It’s been a good weekend for New Zealand’s wintersports athletes competing on ice in North America.

Dunedin-based skeleton athlete Tionette Stoddard took first place in the America's Cup Women's Skeleton event in Calgary, Canada over the weekend, racing against some of the leading world skeleton competitors.

This is excellent preparation for the New Zealand number one women's skeleton competitor as she prepares for the World Cup circuit in Winterberg, Germany, on November 25th.

And the NZ Bobsleigh team have continued their remarkable rise in their sport, taking two third places in their America's Cup races in Calgary, breaking a New Zealand record and astonishing the bobsleigh world in the process.

The top crew of Alan Henderson, Chris Donaldson, Willie Trew, and Tom Davie produced a push time of 5.24 seconds on the first day of the Calgary four-man race, breaking the New Zealand push record for the Calgary Olympic Track from the 2002 NZ crew of 5.28 seconds.

An outstanding push and skilled performance from driver Alan Henderson gave the team another third place to in the next morning’s race, which saw Mike King substituted for Willie Trew in the No.2 position.

NZ Academy of Sport South Island (ASI) Winter Programme Director Ashley Light said it was a brilliant performance for the first time they have raced together, given their inexperience as well as the fact they are competing at relatively light weights compared to other teams.”

“The times the team produced show they are already very competitive in the push in a world cup field, which bodes well for performing at world championship events this year, and for their chances in stepping up to the World Cup for next season,” Mr Light said.

This is one of several talent identification projects supported by the government agency Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) to develop athletes for the future, looking at how to identify and transfer talent from other sports to get world-class results. The athlete’s development is being managed by the ASI through its Winter Performance programme, which supports elite athletes in several winter sports capable of success on the world stage. It co-ordinates and provides coaching, sports science, medical and performance support, with medals at the Winter Olympics the upcoming focus.

The Academy South Island, works in partnership with the other parts of the NZAS Network and SPARC to provide high performance support, services and advise to athletes, coaches and other personnel. The focus is on excellence - helping our top athletes achieve optimal performances.


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