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NZ Bobsleigh Team Poised For Competition On New Bobsleigh

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

22 October 2008 - New Zealand's up-and-coming bobsleigh team is about to experience its next major milestone - competition.

The team is off to the United States to take part in the America's Cup bobsleigh series, competing initially in Park City, then Lake Placid and Calgary over the next six weeks. Participation in this event is necessary to qualify for the World Championships in Lake Placid in February 2009.

Led by UK-based New Zealander Alan Henderson, the team of Willie Trew, Mike King, Sam Higgie and Tom Davie compete from October 26 to November 1 in Park City.

It will be an exciting time for the men, racing on New Zealand's own brand-new purpose built bobsleigh for the first time. The recently completed bob, built in Germany for international standard competition, was shipped to the United States in time for the competition by bobsleigh logistics supporter DHL Express New Zealand, global market leader of the international express and logistics industry.

NZ Academy of Sport South Island (ASI) Winter Programme Director Ashley Light is excited that the project is coming together so well, to the point where a global business like DHL is supporting New Zealand's bid for Winter Olympic glory. "We're thrilled to have assistance with logistics; it means the team is even better positioned for competition."

Only last month the NZ team travelled to Calgary in Canada for the athletes' first taste of bobsleigh on ice, something they are unable to do in this country. Their training camp produced some impressive times, and gave each athlete greater understanding of what's required.

It's been a strict training regime since as the athletes concentrate on strength and conditioning back home, as well as the crucial push-training necessary for the all-important race start.

Coach Gerd Grimme is optimistic about their potential for reaching world championship standards, and says they're now ready for competition.

The bobsleigh squad was selected earlier in the year after a nationwide talent identification process funded by the government agency Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC). It is one of several talent identification projects supported by SPARC to develop athletes for the future, looking at how to identify and transfer talent from other sports to get world-class results.

The athlete's development is being managed by the ASI through its Winter Performance programme, which supports elite athletes in several winter sports capable of success on the world stage. It co-ordinates and provides coaching, sports science, medical and performance support, with medals at the Winter Olympics the upcoming focus.

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