Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Dream Team Announced to Lead Kiwi Olympic Sailing Medal Prospects

by Zoe Hawkins

The duo appointed to prepare the New Zealand sailing team for the London Olympic Games come with the highest possible credentials and an impressive track record:

Jez Fanstone has skippered a Volvo Ocean Race campaign and managed three Olympic programmes. But his most recent achievement, and the one he is best known for is as coach to British sailor Ben Ainslie, whose successes included Olympic Gold medals in three consecutive games.

Now, as Olympic Programme Manager for Yachting New Zealand, Jez will bring his immense talent for leading teams to ultimate success to New Zealand sailors competing in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

In this quest he will be backed up by somebody who knows exactly what is required to deliver Olympic Gold for New Zealand. Gold medalist Tom Ashley will be embarking on a campaign to represent New Zealand at the London Olympics where he aims to defend his title. Tom is one of the rare breed to achieve both World Champion and Olympic Champion status in the same year. He will use his experiences and talent to help the team in an advisory role and to help coach and mentor the up and coming stars of New Zealand Yachting.

For 2012, Yachting New Zealand has refined its program and management structure to build on the achievements of the buildup to the Beijing Olympic Games, where New Zealand secured 13 podium finishes at World Championship and Olympic events in the Olympic sailing classes.

“This team is notable for its current campaign experience and its Olympic medal tally,” says Yachting New Zealand’s Chief Executive Des Brennan. “As sailors, campaigners, coaches and managers, Tom and Jez are the best in the world. In the next four years they will be joined by a team of talented sailors, coaches and managers to lead our quest for sailing medals, particularly targeting the 2012 Olympic Games in London.”

Des Brennan says that Jez is a proven leader and a world class coach and sailor who fully understands the commitment required and the subtleties of coaching and leadership.

Jez comments: “The New Zealand sailing team has the talent to secure Olympic medals not only in London, but in future Games. I have spent many years working closely with people like Ben Ainslie and overseeing major international sailing teams, and I can see that New Zealand has world-class potential. Our challenge now is to put the final refinements on it in the build up to 2012.”

New Zealand’s sailing record in Olympic class over the last four years makes the country one of the very best performers in Olympic classes, says Des.

“However we must keep pushing to improve our position in the increasingly competitive international sporting environment,” he explains. “We have worked with Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) to set very ambitious goals for 2012, and we believe that we have a world-beating plan and team in place to succeed.”

Yachting New Zealand

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