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Sports Scholarships For Excellence

More than 270 young athletes will receive inaugural Prime Minister's Sports Scholarships to help them towards their sporting and educational goals.

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Sport, Fitness and Leisure Minister Trevor Mallard today announced the names of young New Zealanders who will receive scholarships worth up to $10,000. The recipients will be confirming their tertiary education plans over the next month to take up the scholarships.

Helen Clark and Trevor Mallard today visited the New Zealand Hockey Federation Camp where they presented certificates to four of the participants, who are scholarship recipients.

"This camp complements one of the objectives of the scholarships, which is to support up and coming talented athletes," Helen Clark said.

"It is no coincidence that some of the players on the camp are also scholarship winners. National sports organisations have played a large part in identifying some of their top young athletes – the individuals that they see as having the potential to represent the country in their chosen sport.

"If the athlete also wants to pursue tertiary education, the Government is supporting them in their dual aspirations through this scheme.

"One of the best ways to help young sports people is to make sure they have some balance in their lives. Undertaking tertiary study will make them more rounded people, and, I believe, leave them better able to cope with the pressures on the sports field. It will also leave them with a qualification to fall back on when they retire from their sport," Helen Clark said.

Trevor Mallard said the scholarship programme was part of this government's investment in sports.

"Helping support excellence is a major part of our sport policies. Many of the recipients of scholarships will be our heroes and heroines of the future. Others may not realise their dreams, but they achieved such success already, that they deserve the opportunity to reach the top.

"The scholarships are in four levels depending on the sporting records of the individuals. At the top level they will provide up to $5000-a-year to help cover course costs for tertiary education and up to $5000-a-year for their living and sport-related expenses. Providing they continue to meet the criteria, an athlete may receive support through the scholarship programme for up to five years. The programme is being administered by the NZ Sports Foundation," Trevor Mallard said.

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