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Govt. announces $1 million coaching initiative

2 October 2001 Media Statement

Government announces $1 million coaching initiative

An extension to the Prime Minister’s sports scholarships programme will see New Zealand’s elite coaches able to apply for government-backed scholarships for their professional development worth $1 million, Prime Minister Helen Clark said today.

Helen Clark announced the scholarships during the unveiling of the new Commonwealth Games logo at a function at Parliament today.

"Coaches are too often unsung heroes, but they play a vital role in the success of our athletes and sports teams.

"A good coach is simultaneously a mentor, psychologist, nutritionist and performer of many other support roles to athletes.

"Today's initiative will assist coaches with their own personal development opportunities. The scholarships will be able to be used for support in a variety of ways, such as for completing a qualification at a tertiary institution in New Zealand, providing opportunities to travel and study national or international coaching specialists, or other useful proposals.

"The introduction of the new scholarships follows the Ministerial report into sport, fitness and leisure, and the Sports Foundation's post-Sydney Olympics strategy, both of which identified the need for more resources for coaches if New Zealand is to achieve greater international sporting success.

"Two levels of these scholarships will be available next year. There will be an elite tier of ten scholarships of $50,000 designed for individuals being groomed for national coaching positions. The second tier of fifty scholarships of $10,000 is designed to broaden the coaching base in New Zealand.

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Helen Clark said that the $1 million initiative will come from the extension in the budget for the Prime Minister's Scholarships and is part of the Government’s commitment to sport and education. The scholarships for athletes have been very successful this year, with 289 athletes receiving them.

New Zealand Sports Foundation chief executive Chris Ineson says a National Elite Coaching Manager, who is central to the development of this programme, will be appointed next month and that the new scholarships are in addition to the Foundation's previously announced increased coaching assistance package.

ENDS

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