Nine Sky Next Athletes Ride, Row and Paddle Their Way to Rio

By Lassoo Media Ltd.

An incredible nine SKY NEXT athletes have qualified to compete in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games this August.

It’s been a long but ultimately rewarding road for these young athletes. Many have spent years training and competing but the end result is a dream come true with most attending the games for the first time.
SKY spokeswoman Kirsty Way says: “So many of our SKY NEXT athletes have been working incredibly hard to secure their spot at the Rio Olympics. We love seeing them take on the world and are excited and filled with admiration as we support them on this journey.”

Qualifying athletes include:
  • 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games Double Gold Medallist, Sam Webster, (24) from Auckland will compete in Track Cycling with teammate Ethan Mitchell (25) for the first time at the Olympics.
  • 2014 World Champion rower Emma Twigg (29) from Napier is hoping to bring home an Olympic Gold medal.
  • Track Runner Angie Petty (24) from Christchurch placed 5th in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games 800m and is excited to represent NZ in Rio.
  • Hockey superstar Kane Russell (24) from Otago joins the Black Sticks.
  • Canoe Slalom Paddler Luuka Jones (27) from Tauranga is competing for the third time after placing 14th at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and 10th at the 2014 London Olympics.
  • Shot Putter Junior World Champion Jacko Gill (21) currently holds the world record for every weight shot (U18) and hopes to continue his winning streak in Rio. 
  • Auckland footballer Jasmine Pereira (19) has been selected to play for the NZ Zealand Women’s Football Ferns.
  • Tyla Nathan-Wong (22) who at 18 was the youngest player to ever be selected to the New Zealand Women’s Sevens team, will represent NZ in Rio.
SKY gives financial support of $16,000 a year to each SKY NEXT athlete to help them with their training and travel costs. In addition, athletes receive mentoring from Olympic Gold medallist Hamish Carter and his wife Marisa, who champions the programme on behalf of SKY and ensures SKY NEXT athletes have an opportunity to raise their profiles with SKY’s support.

Marisa Carter says: “Most people don’t realise how difficult it is just to be selected to represent the New Zealand team at an Olympic Games.  It’s an extremely focused and tense period. Within the SKY NEXT team, we have nine qualified athletes and a couple who missed out.  We are extremely proud of all of them. And we are excited to watch our SKY NEXT athletes, and the New Zealand Olympic team take on the World in Rio.”

Get behind the SKY NEXT athletes - follow their journeys at sky.co.nz/skynext and watch them compete on 12 SKY channels! You can also join in their conversation with #SKYNEXT
SKY NEXT – Supporting Talented Kiwi Athletes.
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