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Carter and Tanner Address Triathlon Youth Festival

20 December 2013

Carter and Tanner Address Triathlon Youth Festival

Olympic gold medallist Hamish Carter joined fellow Olympian Debbie Tanner as an official Ambassador to Triathlon New Zealand’s National Talent Programme (NTP), attending day two of the Youth Academy Festival to address over 60 young prospects in Auckland today.

The Auckland Youth Academy Festival is the final one prior to the naming of the 2014 Tri NZ National Talent Squad, a group of young athletes who will be supported and mentored at a level just below the High Performance Squads, providing a valuable stepping stone on the Tri NZ athlete pathway.

Carter is delighted to be passing on his experience to a new generation of prospective triathlon Olympians, with 61 answering the call to attend the two day talent ID camp.

“This is just so exciting to be a part of; it is great that triathlon has put a lot of thought into the next generation and how they go about finding the talent. It is never an exact science but it is important for a sport to get this right. There are so many opportunities for kids in New Zealand, so many of them grow up doing the Weet-Bix events and if they are interested in a whole bunch of sports like I was, triathlon is a great option.”

Carter says his job at the Youth Festival and as an NTP Ambassador is not to ‘coach’ but to provide some big picture perspective.

“My role is not to deliver anything too technical, at this stage kids who are into sport love the competition and love to be involved and love the variety that triathlon can offer. For me this is about having them see what is in front of them, that it is possible to have those apsirational dreams and goals of being world class. They will be told that it takes hard work but kids aren’t afraid of that. History shows that Debbie and I were in their shoes once, it is about them setting their goals so they are thinking longer term to one day follow in our footsteps.”

The two day Youth Festival in Auckland is a key opportunity to identify young talent, but not necessarily from within the sport. Tri NZ Talent Development Coach Tim Brazier says the group of 61 teenagers come from a wide variety of sporting backgrounds.

“We have swimmers, runners, cyclists and some who are already focusing on triathlon but the key at this age is not ‘how fast can they race a triathlon’, it is about exploring their potential in the three disciplines of triathlon and their aptitude to develop into elite triathletes in the long term.

“The two days in Auckland have been an intensive mix of physical testing and recording of data, classroom sessions and inspiration from the likes of Hamish, Debbie and a presentation from former Olympic runner Adrian Blincoe in his current role as Talent Development Manager with High Performance Sport New Zealand.”

Following the Youth Festival, Tri NZ will be announcing the 2014 National Talent Squad with athletes to receive support and mentoring as they progress along the pathway towards the HP Squads. That will include representation at the Australian Youth/Junior race in Penrith in January next year.

15 year old Isabella Sherwood-Clark from Taupo was one of the 61 athletes at the Youth Festival and spoke of the two days in camp and her hopes to go further in the sport.

“I have done nationals and other regional and local events. I have come from mainly a swimming and running background but enjoy the triathlon and the combination of all three events. It has been a lot of fun, the trials have been okay but it has been a lot of fun and the chance to learn of the likes of Debbie and Hamish is great.

“I would like to be selected for the National Talent Squad and go further in the sport for sure.”

The Youth Festivals throughout the year (earlier in Christchurch and Wellington) have also seen coaches brought in to work in support of the NTP with the Auckland camp seeing former elite athlete Nathan Richmond amongst them. The former Olympian coaches a number of the young athletes at the festival. Richmond was joined by Walter Thorburn, Andrew McKay, Barbara Kramer and Jianni Koutsos.

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