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World stage beckons uni athletes

Press Release
(For immediate release)
September 2, 2010

World stage beckons uni athletes

Athletes competing at the NZ Uni Snow Games in Wanaka this week could propel themselves onto the world stage.

Jon Turnbull, Chef de Mission for the 2011 World University Winter Games in Erzurum, Turkey, said the national event was a valuable opportunity for athletes to stake their claim for selection.

“This is a platform where we can progress university sport … it gets people involved and gets us a good catchment area,” he said.

Turnbull, performance manager for the New Zealand Academy of Sport Winter Performance Programme, was assistant Chef de Mission at the world event in Italy in 2007 and an official with the New Zealand contingent at the Vancouver Winter Olympics earlier this year.

The World Universiade is the second largest winter sports event on the planet.

“It hasn’t got the prestige of the Olympics but I think it’s certainly going to go that way,” Turnbull said.

“If you have aspirations to compete at Olympic level, this is a good stepping stone to that.

“There’s a World Cup field in the ski races … strategically it’s a good move for athletes to compete. I think it’s massive in terms of preparation for a winter campaign.”

Turnbull and assistant Chef de Mission Cam Craighead met with perspective competitors in Wanaka this week to outline the Turkey event, to be held from January 27 to February 6, 2011.

“It will be world-class with all of the facilities brand new,” Craighead said. “The ski jumping course is literally right in the middle of a city that’s home to a million people.”

At the 25th bi-annual universiade, competitors from 51 countries will contest 14 disciplines – from ski racing and freestyle snowboarding to ice hockey and curling.

University Sport New Zealand president Ian Murphy said the organisation would continue its support with a competitive New Zealand delegation in Turkey.

“We’re about performance and putting a team together that will come back from the world event and ultimately benefit New Zealand’s winter high performance programme,” he said.


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