By ITU Admin on 18/10/07 at 12:00 am
Tri NZ today officially unveiled a new schools based initiative in association with the Weet-Bix Tryathlon series with the objective of promoting Triathlon in schools and the broader community.
The announcement coincided with the launch of the 2007/08 Weet-Bix Tryathlon series, one of the most successful children’s sport programmes in the country with 20,000 children expected to take part this season.
Tied in with that hugely popular initiative is the new Regional Youth Development Officer programme. With the support of Sanitarium, Tri NZ is charged with managing the RDO’s and delivering the programme into schools and clubs with the Weet-Bix Tryathlon as the goal participation event.
Tri NZ Youth Development Officer Scott Larsen says the potential for the programme is enormous.
“The success of the Weet-Bix Tryathlon has highlighted the interest in the sport at a young age but has also stretched resources and increased the demand for coaching assistance in schools and clubs,” said Larsen.
“Our partnership with Sanitarium and the subsequent appointment of the ten Regional Development Officers will provide much needed resource and coaching expertise for the schools, clubs, children and parents involved in the Weet-Bix Tryathlon series. It is our goal to further boost participation in the series but also encourage longer term commitment to the sport.”
Each of the ten regions hosting a Weet-Bix race will have the services of an RDO to work with the schools and clubs in the region. Their work will include school visits, training sessions and hosting a training camp prior to the Weet-Bix Tryathlon.
Tri NZ CEO Dave Beeche says capturing the interest of the children and their parents can only be good for the long term health of the sport.
“Resources in many schools and clubs are limited, both in terms of funds and personnel. The appointment of the RDO’s into the regions hosting Weet-Bix Tryathlon’s will ease that issue and provide expert advice, coaching and support for the teachers and parents as well as the children themselves.
“It is certainly our goal to make their first Triathlon experience a good one and to do our best to inspire first participation but also a life long association with the sport. The more New Zealand children we can get swimming, biking and running the better for everyone concerned.”
The RDO’s will work on a part time basis in two 12 week blocks through the summer. Each has a strong background in the sport and a number are competing at elite level.
The ten Regional Development Officers are:
Auckland - Julia Scopes
Julia has been involved in Triathlon industry for the last 12 years racing, personally racing at a junior elite level over the 2004 season.
Wellington - Ben Christophers
Ben has recently returned home from his first professional season in Europe. Ben has big ambitions in triathlon and sees junior development as a great vehicle to give back to the sport on his way through
Northshore - Ben Visser
Also recently returning from a professional season in Europe, Ben has been doing voluntary youth development work for the North Harbour Triathlon Club for the past 3 years and brings some valuable experience to the new team.
Hamilton - Melanie Warmerdam
Melanie is new to triathlon and has done some personal racing over the 2006 season as part of the Tri My Sport event of the My Sport Series. She has a background as a primary school teacher and has a passion for both youth and triathlon.
Christchurch - Thijs Hubber
Thijs is a promising elite athlete who has been working hard over 2007 to establish himself as an elite triathlete in the New Zealand My Sport Series. He has experience working with youth in the Christchurch region.
Nelson - Taryn Beattie
Taryn has been racing triathlon for a number of years but recently has focused on her running carrier whilst raising her young daughter.
Dunedin - Eddie Smith
Eddie has been working with Dunedin’s local triathlon club on a voluntary basis for over a year and loves youth development. Eddie also races at a very high level over the long course distance
Tauranga - Andrew Bedford
Andrew is immersed in his community running over 20 races, and managing many youth initiatives. With established links into schools and event knowledge he is a great asset for not only the team but event directors working in this region
New Plymouth - Hamish Johnson
Hamish has recently stepped up into a semi professional over the long course distance. He raced exceptionally well over 2007 however has now returned home to continue as a part time physio and youth development officer for the region
Hawkes Bay - Jeanette Cooper
Jeanette has single handedly raised the profile of triathlon in the Hawkes Bay region running over 35 events and club initiatives over the last 5 years. Jeanette is ecstatic to add youth work into her already busy portfolio of triathlon activates she conducts.