High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) wishes to
clarify the recent conflict that has arisen around New Zealand Golf’s
application for funding received by Lydia Ko.
The two-year campaign to help Ko track towards the goal
of competing in the 2016 Olympic Games was made in 2012, when the then
15-year-old golfer was an amateur, not a professional as reported by the Dominion
Post last week.
HPSNZ and New Zealand Golf (NZG) would like to clarify that Ko did not make an application for this funding, NZG did this on her behalf. The following attack on the young golfer’s credibility in the media and on social media has been unfounded and unfair.
HPSNZ Chief Executive Alex Baumann said HPSNZ has supported Ko because she has the potential to win a medal for New Zealand.
“We target our investment at sports and athletes that have potential to win at Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and world championships for non-Olympic Sports,” he said.
“We have been operating a targeted investment approach for some years now and it works. In 2012, we had our most successful Olympics ever and last year 20 Kiwi athletes or teams stood on the podium at world championships in Olympic disciplines, we had 12 Paralympic world champions and New Zealand had many other Kiwi winners on the world stage.”
The original Campaign Investment application received by HPSNZ in November 2012 was based on Ko as an amateur. As her situation has changed with her turning professional in October of last year then this Investment Schedule is to be reviewed by HPSNZ.
New Zealand Golf’s High Performance Manager Gregg Thorpe is currently assessing Ko’s needs in 2014. He is going to discuss a revised investment plan with HPSNZ based on her new demonstrated needs, rather than a pay-out in equal monthly amounts. The only exception is the PEGs payments [Performance Enhancement Grants] which are to be paid out monthly.
HPSNZ is not suggesting that the value of investment will be less than the amount stipulated in the Investment Schedule however they wish to review this situation with New Zealand Golf.
HPSNZ is committed to assisting Ko to maximise her chances of transitioning effectively into the professional ranks as she makes and important progress towards claiming a medal in Rio.
“As we have said publicly before, it’s likely that Lydia’s earnings as a professional will mean that she no longer needs our financial support and we’re continuing to talk to New Zealand Golf about that,” added Baumann.
“There may be other support we can provide to Lydia such as help from our specialist staff to assist her through to the Olympics. We’re continuing to talk to New Zealand Golf about that and our level of support will depend on what Lydia’s needs are.
“We believe that having Lydia turn professional is great for the sport and that we have a role in supporting her through that transition from amateur to professional as she eyes the Rio Games in 2016.”
HPSNZ does not have a policy on not supporting professional athletes and currently invests in a number of professional athletes across other sports.
HPSNZ policy documents state that “investments are to be made based on demonstrated need”.
New Zealand Golf received $300,000 in High Performance funding in 2012. This reduced in 2013 and 2014 to $185,000 which is now targeted specifically at Lydia Ko’s campaign for gold at Rio.
“Our strategy is to support New Zealand sports and athletes to win on the world stage including at Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and world championships. We support national sports organisations, athletes and teams with high performance investment to help them win, and when New Zealanders win medals for their country, it makes us feel proud as a nation.”
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