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World-class Triathletes Selected

World-class Triathletes Selected

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has named four triathletes to the New Zealand Olympic Team to Beijing 2008.

Olympic selectors named triathletes Bevan Docherty (30), Kris Gemmel (30), Sam Warriner (36) and Debbie Tanner (25) today.

It is the first time more than one female triathlete has been selected to represent New Zealand at an Olympic Games.

New Zealand Olympic Committee Secretary-General and selector, Barry Maister, is delighted to have announced the four highly-ranked international athletes.

The triathletes have had consistently strong showings at world cup competitions throughout the pre-Olympic build-up and have left New Zealand Olympic Committee selectors with no doubt they have met New Zealand’s tough selection criteria.

“All four athletes have won World Cup races in the past year and are all ranked in the Top 10 in the world,” said Mr Maister. “Who can forget the amazing day in Athens 2004 when triathlon kick-started the New Zealand medal tally with a Gold and Silver in the men’s triathlon. Now, with both men and women represented at a very high level we’re looking forward to an exciting performance from the team in Beijing.”

Triathlon New Zealand’s High Performance Manager, Stephen Farrell, believes the early selection will be an advantage for the triathletes selected.

“Triathlon is an endurance event and training must be carefully managed. Early selection gives our athletes optimal preparation time,” he said.

Farrell expects further triathlon selections next year. “There will be 25 triathletes at Beijing 2008 with a real hope of a medal finish. We believe six of these athletes, three men and three women, will be New Zealanders.”

Terenzo Bozzone, Shane Reed, Nicky Samuels and Andrea Hewitt will lead the contenders for an additional male and female spot in the New Zealand Olympic Team to Beijing 2008 in Australia next March. All are currently ranked 35 or higher in Olympic rankings but must meet IOC criteria before being nominated for selection.

Both Sam Warriner and Bevan Docherty represented New Zealand at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games with Bevan securing a silver medal behind New Zealand’s Hamish Carter.

Kris Gemmel was especially thrilled with his early selection.

“Being officially named in the team is one of the proudest moments in my career. I can’t wait to wear that silver fern and chase the medals down,” he said. “Our programmes can now be 100% focused on peaking for Beijing and representing New Zealand with pride.”

With 240 days until the Beijing 2008 Opening Ceremony the New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced the selection of five sailors, two synchronised swimmers and the triathletes. The New Zealand Women’s Hockey and Women’s Basketball Teams have also had their selections confirmed.

Selection announcements will continue to be made into 2008 as teams and individuals meet New Zealand Olympic Committee selection criteria.

It is 100 years since New Zealand athletes first represented their country at an Olympic Games and in 2008 New Zealand will name its 1000th Olympian.

ENDS

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