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Rebecca Spence on Track to Fulfil Olympic Dream

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Westpac Emerging Talent Winner Rebecca Spence on Track to Fulfil Olympic Dream

CAPTION: Westpac CEO Ann Sherry accompanies Rebecca Spence as she receives her Westpac Emerging Talent Award at the 2006 Westpac Halberg Awards in Auckland earlier this year.

Auckland, 30 October 2007: Young Kiwi sports ace Rebecca Spence, winner of two junior world titles last year, is confident she will be at the start line at the London Olympics triathlon in 2012 – if not the Beijing Olympics next year.

At this year’s Westpac Halberg Awards, Rebecca won the Emerging Talent Award, which carried a $25,000 scholarship from Westpac that has enabled her to head for Europe for the rest of this year to train, compete, and hopefully, win her way to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

While she had an incredible sporting year in 2006, defending her World Junior Duathlon title in Newfoundland, Canada and then two weeks later, winning her second world title at the World Junior Cycling Time Trial in Belgium, after a few injury niggles, she is gearing up for an even better 2007.

Rebecca, who is concentrating on Triathlon, says “while I managed to keep on top of my training last year, this year has been a more focussed, building year. I’ve been swimming ten times a week and putting in a lot more miles with my cycling, making me noticeably fitter and faster.”

She left for Europe last month and is not planning to return home until early December. While her travelling itinerary is flexible at this stage, she is currently in Switzerland training for two World Cup events in Mexico (Nov 3) and Israel (Dec 1).

Rebecca, who has just turned 18, is taking the view that she has “nothing to lose so I’m making the most of every opportunity while I’m here,” she says. “I have some set performance goals and disciplines for competing days and I’d like to place in the top 10 for the two world cup events, but otherwise I’m just going for it with all I’ve got.”

Rebecca says the $25,000 Westpac scholarship, which covered her travel costs, has helped her immensely. “This scholarship has opened up incredible opportunities for me to not only get to my competitions, but has enabled me to take this year out to train,” she says.

Rebecca says training in Europe has a lot of benefits, particularly because it is summer. “I have much dryer training conditions compared with wet Auckland. And there are other Kiwi athletes training and competing here – so it’s encouraging to have that network of support.”

If Rebecca gains enough points at the two World Cups at the end of this year she will go on to the final Triathlon qualifying race for the Beijing Olympics in Maloolaba early next year, in which she will need to place in the top 10 to qualify for the Olympics.

“It’s a huge challenge, but one that I can sees as a definite possibility so I’m going for it with everything I’ve got. Either way I’ll definitely be at the 2012 Olympics in London. I’ll be in prime condition and if all goes to plan – I’ll be bringing a gold home from that Olympics.”

~ Ends ~

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