Prime Minister checks in on athlete preparation for Rio

Prime Minister John Key today met with a number athletes and staff from High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) at the AUT Millennium, National Training Centre, Auckland, to check in on their preparations for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games.

With only 135 days to go to the start of the Rio Olympics, the Prime Minister was joined by Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman and Associate Minister Murray McCully.

The party met with double Gold medallist Valerie Adams, double gold Para-Swimming medallist Cameron Leslie, 2016 World silver medallists Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox and members of the dominant Women’s Rugby Sevens team.

The Prime Minister and Ministers were impressed by the progress being made towards the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Speaking after the visit, Alex Baumann, Chief Executive of HPSNZ commented:

“The team at HPSNZ is confident that Rio will be New Zealand’s most successful Games ever and we will achieve our target of 14+ Olympic medals and 12 gold at the 2016 Paralympics.”

 “That’s fantastic because high performance sport success is important to New Zealand.  It provides role models to inspire people and encourage participation, especially young people, leading to a more active and healthier population. It also promotes New Zealand internationally and unites the nation like nothing else can to build our national identity”.

Since the establishment of HPSNZ, New Zealand’s international sporting results have improved year on year, in both Olympic and non-Olympic sports. Following the success of London 2012, the Government, via HPSNZ, has invested over $232m directly into the New Zealand high performance system to support preparations for Rio and beyond.

In addition, over 500,000 hours of athlete performance support has been provided by HPSNZ experts to high performance athletes and coaches in preparation for the Games. This support will be continued during the Games as a team of 40 front line HPSNZ performance specialists will provide on the ground continuous support to athletes throughout the Games.  This covers areas like physiotherapy, medical services, nutrition and psychology, among others.

Baumann continued:

 “Right now New Zealand’s high performance system is world-class, and is attracting international attention because of our continued success. That’s great but we cannot stand still. Elite sport is always moving forward and in order to sustain the success we have achieved we must continue to invest and build on our momentum.”

The Prime Minister and Ministers also received an update on progress towards the Tokyo 2020 Games and HPSNZ’s innovation programme Goldmine, which aims to enable world class performance through breakthrough in-house technology.