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PM Athletes Scholarships announced today

3 August 2006

Prime Minister’s Athletes Scholarships announced today

Note embargo

More than 300 athletes are successful recipients of the Prime Minister's Athlete Scholarships from the New Zealand Academy of Sport (NZAS) North, Prime Minister Helen Clark and Sport and Recreation Minister Trevor Mallard announced today.

Helen Clark today attended a presentation for these scholarships hosted by St Cuthberts College.

The athletes are amongst a group of more than 500 nationwide who have been offered a Prime Minister’s Athlete Scholarship this year, allowing them to pursue their studies, as well as reach their sporting goals.

“The Government is committed to supporting New Zealand’s athletes. Studying while competing helps athletes maintain balance in their lives, and ensures that they have career opportunities after sport,” Helen Clark said.

"Sport plays a fundamental role in our national identity. The Labour-led government recognises the importance of not only investing in our elite athletes but investing in lifting the physical activity levels of all New Zealanders, for our health and well being."

“Being awarded a Prime Minister's Scholarship presents a great opportunity to earn a tertiary or vocational qualification, while at the same time pursuing sporting dreams. These scholarships, worth up to $10 000 each, help support ongoing education and development and help to provide some balance to busy sporting lives," Trevor Mallard said.

Among the Northern-based scholarship recipients for 2006 were Commonwealth Games gold medallist swimmer Moss Burmester, triathlete Debbie Tanner, who won her first International Triathlon Union (ITU) race in Japan in April and placed fourth at the Commonwealth Games, and squash player Shelley Kitchen who won a silver and a bronze medal at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

Moss Burmester is aiming to be placed in the top five at the World Championships in Melbourne next year and is studying for a Bachelor of Design at Massey University in Albany.

He says he has been on a scholarship for several years now and it's great because the money he would normally put into studying he can now put into his sport.

David Klinkhamer is another recipient of a Prime Minister's Athlete Scholarship. David was a member WheelBlacks team that won Silver at the 2006 Canada Cup in June, and the Chris Handy Cup – the wheelchair rugby version of the Bledisloe Cup.

The scholarships are administered by SPARC (Sport and Recreation New Zealand) through the New Zealand Academy of Sport, SPARC’s high performance network.

ENDS

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