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Endurance Race Trophy Recognises Skier

Endurance Race Trophy Recognises Skier's Contribution

Queenstown 15 July, - The legendary exploits of a young Queenstown skier will live on with the establishment of a trophy in her name for the inaugural Compaq 50K of Coronet downhill endurance race at Coronet Peak on July 17 and July 18.

Twenty eight year old Janey Blair was tragically killed when the helicopter she was piloting crashed at Manapouri in Fiordland in March this year.

The death of the young woman who had done so much to profile New Zealand ski racing on the international scene was devastating.

As a young schoolgirl she was on the New Zealand Ski team and at the age of 18 captured her first major title, the US Women's Junior Championship.

She was also highly ranked in Downhill and Super G producing some of the best results ever achieved by a New Zealand skier.

Janey's passion was for speed and downhill was her favourite discipline.

Her claim to fame at Coronet Peak is the downhill record of 58 seconds which no-one, male or female, has been able to better.

It was this downhill expertise which prompted Janey to decide, just a few weeks before her death, to enter the Compaq 50K of Coronet.

"It was her sort of event and the organisers were really excited about Janey competing," says COMPAQ 50K Director Wayne Cafe.

"She was such a committed skier who had a huge following locally." He continues.

Janey's death devastated everyone who knew her and her family have been searching for something which would recognise her contribution.

"We wanted to put her name to something significant and this race seemed to be entirely appropriate," says her father, Queenstown architect John Blair.

The Compaq 50K of Coronet is a downhill event involving eight teams , six international and two New Zealand entries.

The proceeds from the event are earmarked for the Cure Kids charity and for the Queenstown Alpine Ski Team.

Several years ago Janey suffered from cancer, successfully recovering from her battle with the illness.

"For this reason we like the idea of the Cure Kids charity and the whole event, particularly because it is a downhill race, is really made to measure for us to support.

" Added to this mix, John Blair was personally involved in the establishment of the Queenstown Alpine Ski Team, which is now New Zealand's leading ski racing programme and is providing much of the 200 volunteer workforce for the race.

"We are delighted that Janey's name will appear on the winner's trophy," he says.

"It will mean a lot to us.

" John Blair has designed the trophy, which is a mix of greenstone and totara.

It has been handcrafted by well-known Queenstown sculptor Rob Lynes.

The choice of materials for the imposing trophy is deliberate and significant.

"They represent the environment Janey lived and worked in and loved." .

. The large pieces of greenstone are from Fiordland while a totara tree has been planted at the Manapouri crash site in memory of Janey and the four people who died with her.

The trophy reflects the shape of Coronet Peak and depicts a downhill course highlighted in silver.

The Blairs say it is apt that it has been made locally by such a reputed craftsman as Rob Lynes.

The trophy will be awarded to the winning team and will be retained in Queenstown.

Three miniatures, also in greenstone and totara, will be presented to the team members to keep.

For the organisers of the Compaq 50K of Coronet the Janey Blair Trophy is entirely fitting.

" We all know in Queenstown what an ambassador Janey was for her sport," says Wayne Cafe.

"We will make sure the international racers are aware of the significance and importance of the trophy they are competing for.”

About Compaq Compaq Computer Corporation is the largest supplier of computing systems in the world.

Compaq designs, develops, manufactures, and markets hardware, software, solutions, and services, including industry-leading enterprise computing solutions, fault-tolerant business-critical solutions, and communications products, commercial desktop and portable products, and consumer PCs.

Compaq products and services are sold in more than 200 countries, primarily to customers from the business, home, government, and education sectors.

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