Thirteen University of Waikato students - including two Hillary scholars - are part of a new national sports programme designed to prepare them for life as high performance athletes.
As part of the Pathway to Podium programme, they will receive early education in areas such as nutrition, mental skills and strength and conditioning training.
Tools to succeed
The athletes will receive their own strength and conditioning programme, access to a gym and get to train with strength and conditioning experts.
The national programme was launched at the Avantidrome near Cambridge this week. Initially, 161 pre-high performance athletes have been selected by their national sport organisation through 14 regional talent hubs in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatu, Wanganui, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Wellington, Tasman, Canterbury, Otago and Southland.
The Waikato hub – which kicked off with 27 athletes involved - will be managed by former Olympic cyclist Cath Cheatley, who is also a track world championship medallist and US Series Road Race Champion.
She says the programme is focussed around education and encouraging self-responsibility.
“It’s a long, tough road to become a high performance athlete and I’m excited to be able to strengthen the pathway for our talented Waikato athletes,” she says.
The University of Waikato students involved in the Pathway to Podium programme include Hillary scholars Nicole van der Kaay (triathlon) and swimmer Melita Raravula, along with Tom Smith (athletics) and rowers Christie Davis, Ben van Dalen, Cameron Bartley, Charles Rogerson, Jessica Ria, Joshua Earl, Logan Rodger, Peter Byllemos, Richard Power and Danelle Murphy.