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Prime Minister’s Sport Scholarships awarded

27 May, 2008
Prime Minister’s Sport Scholarships awarded

Prime Minister Helen Clark and the Minister for Sport and Recreation Clayton Cosgrove today congratulated the 2008 Wellington Prime Minister’s Sport Scholarship recipients.

The Prime Minister’s Sport Scholarship programme 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 have won 2008 scholarships.

“These scholarships go to many of New Zealand’s top sports people. The scholarships help athletes, coaches, and officials manage the demands of their sport, professional development, academic pursuits and other responsibilities,” Helen Clark said.

Mr Cosgrove said that the recipients had shown the commitment and dedication which see New Zealand continue to punch above its weight on the world sporting stage.

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.

New Zealand Black Sticks player and Prime Minister’s Athlete Scholarship recipient Kayla Sharland is studying for a Bachelor of Arts at Massey University.

“If you are not a professional player it is very difficult to find a balance between able to play sport competitively and to keep studying. The scholarship goes a long way to achieving that balance. It will be a huge help with paying my fees and the living allowance will help to cover my living costs.”

The Prime Minister’s Sport 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.

Wellington-based Triathlon New Zealand coach and Prime Minister’s Coach Scholarship recipient Greg Fraine, is travelling to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“There are specialists in the United States who are world leading in fitting people to bikes, and part of my scholarship was to go there and up-skill myself in bike fitting. As a coach, I am now able to use my new skills to ensure my triathletes get the best fit to their bike to maximise their power and efficiency. I have also been able to bring that knowledge home to share with 25 other high performance coaches, which has been very valuable.”

Mr Cosgrove said the importance of top quality, dedicated coaches, officials, and support teams in sport should not be underestimated. “Athletes need these people behind them if they are to excel and these scholarships help provide the support they need to be world-class in their chosen field,” he said.

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

Tonight’s ceremony is the second of four ceremonies being held throughout the country. Auckland-based recipients received their scholarships on 16 April 2008. Christchurch will hold its ceremony on 29 May, and the final ceremony is in Dunedin in October.


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