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Prime Minister's Sport Scholarships Awarded

Hon Clayton Cosgrove
Minister for Sport and Recreation

16 April 2008 Media Statement
Prime Minister's Sport Scholarships Awarded

Sport and Recreation Minister Clayton Cosgrove congratulated North Island recipients of the 2008 Prime Minister’s Sport Scholarships during a special presentation ceremony at Baradene College in Auckland today.

The Prime Minister’s Sport Scholarship programme is a government initiative that enables emerging and talented New Zealand sports people to concurrently pursue tertiary study or professional development while striving for sporting excellence.

Nationwide, 320 athletes, 32 coaches, 16 officials and 30 support team members were awarded scholarships in 2008. Mr Cosgrove told the more than 120 scholarship winners attending today’s ceremony that being a recipient of a Prime Minister’s Scholarship is a huge achievement.

“These awards are in recognition of the ability or potential you have to compete on the world sporting stage. It takes sheer hard work, as well as talent. It also involves personal sacrifices. For example, while your mates are sleeping in or staying out socialising, you, and your coach are at the track, on the court, or in the pool. I commend you for your commitment.”

Prime Minister’s Athlete scholarships are awarded to those with the greatest potential to successfully represent New Zealand at the highest level of elite sport, and who would benefit from engaging in tertiary study while training.

As part of the Prime Minister’s Athlete scholarship, recipients receive up to $10,000 for university fees and a living allowance of up to $6,000 for an academic year.

One of the Prime Minister’s Athlete Scholarship recipients is Silver Fern, Laura Langman, who is studying for a Bachelor of Business Analysis at the University of Waikato. “The Prime Minister’s Athlete Scholarship gives me the ability to simultaneously develop my career for life after sport, alongside my passion to play netball at an international level. I know for a fact that without the support of this great initiative, pursuing my study interests and love for sport would not be possible.”

The Prime Minister’s Scholarship programme extends to high performance coaches, officials and support team members, such as physiotherapists, sports psychologists and nutritionists. The scholarships provide them with additional opportunities to develop their skills and deliver world-class assistance to elite-level athletes.

“The importance of coaches, officials, and support teams in sport should not be underestimated. They are highly dedicated people who juggle very busy lives. Athletes need the support of these top quality coaches, supporters and officials behind them if they are to excel, and these scholarships help provide the support they need to be world class in their chosen field,” said Mr Cosgrove.

The current coach of the Black Sox and former New Zealand softball player Eddie Kohlhase is also a recipient of a Prime Minister’s Coach Scholarship.

“This scholarship has given me a fantastic opportunity. It is very helpful. It will allow me to attend Auckland University’s Hillary Leadership Programme for two years. This fellowship will help me to bring together the theoretical and practical side of leadership and to study and challenge the systems we use in coaching.”

Today’s award ceremony is the first of four that will be held this year for 2008 recipients. Other ceremonies are being held in Wellington (27th May), Christchurch (29th May) and Dunedin (15th October).

The Prime Minister’s Sport Scholarships are administered by the government agency Sport and Recreation New Zealand and its high performance network, the New Zealand Academy of Sport.

Note to editors: Go to the online version of this media release at www.beehive.govt.nz for a list of all North Island recipients and what region they are from.

ENDS

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