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Christchurch ceremony for PM’s Sport Scholarships

29 May, 2008
Christchurch ceremony for PM’s Sport Scholarships

Sport and Recreation Minister Clayton Cosgrove congratulated the 56 upper South Island recipients of the 2008 Prime Minister’s Sport Scholarships at a special ceremony in Christchurch this evening.

The scholarships presented by Mr Cosgrove are among the 398 awarded for athletes, coaches, support staff and officials nationally this year, worth $4.25 million. 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.

Mr Cosgrove told tonight’s recipients the awards are in recognition of the huge amount of hard work and commitment they have put into their sport and studies.

“Succeeding at the elite level of sport is tough, and combining that with study and career development is a huge challenge. This government is committed to helping lighten the financial burden of sports’ best and brightest talent to meet those challenges.”

“Being a recipient of a Prime Minister’s Scholarship is a huge achievement. It is a reflection of the ability and potential these recipients have to compete on the world sporting stage as athletes, coaches, officials or support team members,” Mr Cosgrove said.

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.

Christchurch-based Isabella Franks is an athlete scholarship recipient and a member of the New Zealand Surf Life Saving High Performance and World Championship 2010 squads. “Having a Prime Minister’s Scholarship is a great support. I am studying for an engineering degree, and the scholarship allows me to concentrate on training rather than having to get a holiday job to pay for fees and bills. The ceremony is also cool as you get to meet the other scholarship winners,” she said.

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.

Mr Cosgrove said 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 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.

Triathlon coach Dr John Hellemans is a Prime Minister’s Coach Scholarship recipient. “The Prime Minister’s scholarship has been a huge help – without it I would have had to make a choice between sport and study because it would have been too hard to do both. That’s a huge bonus – I really appreciate having the living allowance, and feel fortunate that it’s given me choices,” 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 third of four ceremonies being held throughout the country. Auckland-based recipients received their scholarships on 16 April 2008, and Wellington based winners had their ceremony on 27 May. The final ceremony is in Dunedin in October.

ENDS

Related Documents

* PM Scholarships - Chch Bios.xls (xls, 79 Kb)

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