Waikato’s future medal makers


Future world stage contenders were recognised at the recent Waikato Pathway to Podium three year launch. Held at the Avantidrome, athletes, coaches and special guests celebrated the next generation of Waikato champions.

Ben Kirsop

Ben Kirsop

The nationwide programme sees 45 Waikato pre-high performance athletes selected by their National Sport Organisation (NSO).

Alex Baumann, chief executive of High Performance Sport New Zealand explains the key driver behind the programme.

“The Pathway to Podium programme will help prepare young athletes for life as high performance athletes.

“The athletes selected to be part of Pathway to Podium will receive early education in areas such as nutrition, psychology, and strength and conditioning training” said Alex. “They’ll also each receive an individually tailored bundle of services.”

A consortium of regional stakeholders led by Sport Waikato will deliver support services to Waikato athletes through the High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) and Sport New Zealand (SNZ) partnered programme.

Ryan Ballantyne.

Ryan Ballantyne

“The beauty of this programme is its regional focus. It’s bringing high performance support to local athletes in their communities. There’s no one place in New Zealand where talent springs from.

“Talent is everywhere and so no matter where an athlete is from, they’ll be given support at a stage in their development that can really help them gain their entry ticket to competing for New Zealand on the world stage,’’  says Sport New Zealand chief executive Peter Miskimmin.

Courtney Rennie

Courtney Rennie

Daniella Meier, Waikato Pathway to Podium’s programme manager explains: “the programme encourages athlete self-responsibility, and places emphasis on components that will be crucial to both performance and the life of an athlete.

“The long term development of our athletes is central to their success on the world stage. I am incredibly privileged to support and strengthen the pathway for our Waikato athletes transitioning into high performance,” she says.

 “The athletes involved in Pathway to Podium in the previous two years have found the education, experience and development very beneficial to their progression within their sport.

“It is the first national programme at this level linked to High Performance Sport New Zealand that the athletes have been part of, so the content they learn, and the providers they interact with are of our highest quality here in New Zealand.

Pathway to Podium launch 2016.

Pathway to Podium launch 2016.

“It is such an amazing opportunity to be able to provide this at such a vital stage in an athlete’s career. At this stage, when progression is not always linear, learning obtained in every component important to their sport is so valuable.

“We aim to provide a collaborative and exciting culture within Waikato Pathway to Podium, where cross sport engagement can transpire and athletes can learn about one another and support each other’s success.

The Waikato region and local businesses have an excellent opportunity to take part in actively supporting this and being part of their success.”

Luke Mitchell, Sam Dakin and Bradley Cullen.

Luke Mitchell, Sam Dakin and Bradley Cullen.


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