Uncertainty surrounding NZ boardsailing team

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 10:30 15/12/2013
JP Tobin
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax Media
FUTURE DOUBTFUL: JP Tobin won bronze at the 2012 world championships.

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Questions surround Yachting New Zealand's plans for the future of elite Kiwi boardsailing - one of New Zealand's most iconic and successful Olympic disciplines.

Fairfax Media understands the national sailing body has not selected a male RS:X sailor in its high performance programme for 2014 - a world championship year and two years from the Olympic Games in Rio.

Yachting NZ will publicly unveil its national team for next year at a launch event in Auckland on Wednesday, and while female boardsailor Natalia Kosinska is included on the high performance page of the organisation's website, there is no male counterpart.

New Zealand's Tom Ashley won Olympic gold in the discipline in 2008 while JP Tobin beat Ashley to qualification for the Olympic Games in London last year and finished seventh.

Ashley's career has fallen dormant since, while former world No 1 Tobin won bronze at the 2012 world championships.

Tobin, who has twice been ranked world No 1, finished 17th at last year's world championships through a neck injury.

Kosinska was 13th in last year's women's world championships.

Neither Yachting NZ chief executive David Abercrombie or high performance director Jez Fanstone returned calls yesterday, while communications manager Jodie Bakewell-White directed enquiries to organisational policy.

"The high performance progamme is focussed on winning medals at the Olympics in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020," Bakewell-White said.

"[The] NZL sailing team includes New Zealand's top Olympic campaigners who have made the top 20 perc ent in their most recent respective class world championships or pinnacle event and have shown consistency of performance over the year including other significant championships."

Alex Baumann, chief executive of the Crown's elite agency High Performance Sport New Zealand, said he was not aware of the specifics of the situation - which he said rested entirely with Yachting NZ as the national body.

"I'm not aware of it at all, it's really an NSO [national sporting organisation] decision," Baumann said.

"In terms of the results from the world's, JP 17th and Natalia was 13th, it's a call they [Yachting NZ] have to make, I'm not aware of who is on the national team, or not."

Baumann said where athletes have had injuries at major campaigns, protocol in determining the effect of that for support the following year varies from sport to sport and is up to the national body.

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"From our point of view [HPSNZ] there is some discretion for performance enhancement grants if they sit out the top 16."

- Fairfax Media

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