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Funding Increase for New Zealand Olympic Sailing

Published on December 14th, 2016

Yachting New Zealand is looking to maintain the momentum the sport achieved at the Rio Olympics and have a better chance of doing this following an increase in funding from High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPNZ).

Yachting is a targeted tier 1 sport and has been earmarked to receive $15.1 million NZD from HPSNZ in core funding over the next four-year Olympic cycle. This is an increase from $12.45 million NZD received over the last Olympic cycle.

Yachting was one of the success stories of this year’s Rio Olympics, securing four medals – gold in the 49er (Peter Burling and Blair Tuke), silver in both the women’s 470 (Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie) and 49erFX (Alex Maloney and Molly Meech) and bronze in the Laser (Sam Meech). This equalled the record haul from the 1992 Barcelona Games.

The Nacra 17 crew of Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders were also fourth in Rio and all seven New Zealand boats finished in the top 10.

Yachting secured two medals at the 2012 London Olympics and one in Beijing four years earlier.

“We are absolutely delighted with the increase in funding,” Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie said. “We believe it’s in recognition of the great results in Rio and our conversion of Fast Track athletes into the Olympic programme, the strength of the Aon Fast Track and youth programmes and our talent identification programme.

“It’s also a reflection of the quality of the governance of the organisation from the board down. We would like to think HPSNZ recognises what we are doing and have confidence we will be able to deliver medals at the 2020 and 2024 Olympics.

“The additional funding will allow us to transition the Aon Fast Track athletes into the Olympic programme more seamlessly to deliver medals. We are trying to add greater capability around the organisation to support the Olympic team. It will also allow us to employ a new high performance director as well as coaches to support the programmes which we haven’t been able to do before.”

There is some uncertainty around the plans of some of New Zealand’s best-known sailors, with Burling, Tuke, Josh Junior and Andy Maloney involved in next year’s America’s Cup campaign with Emirates Team New Zealand, and two-time Olympic medallists Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie finalising their plans for the future.

But Abercrombie points to the strength and depth of talent coming through the Aon Fast Track programme, including under-23 Nacra 17 world champions Olivia MacKay and Micah Wilkinson, Andrew McKenzie (Laser), Logan Dunning-Beck (49er), Erica Dawson (49erFX) and several others in Olympic classes.

A 13-strong New Zealand team will also be competing at the 2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championships at Auckland’s Torbay, with racing starting tomorrow.

“There is quality coming through which is really exciting,” Abercrombie said. “We are looking to fill some gaps in the Olympic classes, like the women’s Laser Radial, so it looks promising. In the Olympic classes we took to Rio, we have medal-capable athletes as well as quality training partners. There’s more depth now than we have had for a number of years.

“We know we haven’t got it all right but we are proud of what we have achieved over the last four years. We are also serious about what we are doing and want to continue to develop.”

Source: Yachting New Zealand

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