Stakeholders back high performance sport centre

By Jonathan Dine

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Sir Graeme Avery has come on board with Sport HB to help establish a high-performance sport system in the region.
Sir Graeme Avery has come on board with Sport HB to help establish a high-performance sport system in the region.

A financial boost to secure a strong sporting future in the Bay will open doors to world-class facilities for local athletes.

There is no shortage of sporting talent in Hawke's Bay and Marcus Agnew wants to harness that talent for the international stage.

The talent development project co-ordinator for Sport Hawke's Bay was, last year, looking for key stakeholders to come on board and establish a high-performance sport system in the region. He got his wish.

Sport Hawke's Bay chief executive Mark Aspden yesterday announced three key parties - Sir Graeme Avery, the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park and Eastern Institute of Technology - have thrown their financial support behind Mr Agnew's vision.

Mr Agnew said that would allow young athletes in the Bay to train at the Regional Sports Park, the Pettigrew Green Arena, use the sports science capabilities of EIT and be granted access to the AUT Millennium Institute of Sport and Health.

Mr Agnew said the world-class facilities, programmes and services would now be available to Hawke's Bay athletes.

The AUT Millennium Institute of Sport and Health is a multisport facility with sports science research and support on site and is the National High Performance Sport Training Centre.

Sir Graeme is the founder and chairman of the institute, on Auckland's North Shore, and he was keen to see an extension of high-performance activities in the Bay.

Mr Agnew was thrilled to have Sir Graeme on side.

"It's all coming together. We want to be able to say that as a region we have faith in our high-performance system."

Sir Graeme said young athletes would benefit hugely from the AUT Millennium Institute, from specialist training and testing, to rubbing shoulders with some of the world's best sportspeople.

"Our talented athletes can stay in Hawke's Bay and best utilise the facilities and expertise here while also tapping into the resources at the AUT Millennium Institute of Sport and Health," Sir Graeme said.

He had a passion for sport and for the Hawke's Bay region.

"I am very pleased to contribute to this initiative, both financially and in terms of providing assistance to the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park and Sport Hawke's Bay in evaluating options to extend the talented athlete development programme to the wider sporting community."

Sir Graeme's vision for the facility was to create a national hub of high-performance sport in New Zealand.

EIT chief executive Chris Collins said the increased support from EIT showed the commitment it had to retaining athletes in the region.

"Following on from financially supporting the joint EIT/Sport Hawke's Bay Scholarship, this funding will see more of our young athletes staying in Hawke's Bay while also being able to further their education through EIT," he said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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