Pair tipped as future stars

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 01/05/2012
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STU PIDDINGTON/FAIRFAX NZ
FAST TRACKED: Pleasant Point's Leanna Ryan, left, and James Sandilands have been included in the Rio 2016 Athletics New Zealand performance squads, marking them as potential stars of the future.

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Two talented young South Canterbury athletes appear to have bright futures in the sport after being included in the Rio 2016 Athletics New Zealand performance squads.

Roncalli College's Leanna Ryan and James Sandilands performance indicators show they have the potential and ability to achieve top 16 status at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Seventy athletes nationwide were selected into gold and silver groups by Rio 2016 performance project manager Terry Lomax.

Hurdler Ryan is in the gold squad and while high jumper Sandilands is in the silver squad.

Ryan's personal best for the 100m hurdles is 14.48 seconds while 17-year-old Sandilands has cleared 2 metres.

Both were delighted by their selections especially 16-year-old Ryan, who is a wildcard in the gold squad.

Lomax said Ryan was a wildcard choice based on "the potential we see in her is untapped".

"James is in as a high jumper, he was only 1cm short of being in the gold squad," Lomax said. The squad are primarily a programme based support system, to also support the athletes who show sufficient ability or potential to be able to move to the High Performance Sport New Zealand funded levels within two years.

Both of the athletes' coaches, Grant Lord (Sandilands) and Ian Baird (Ryans), have also been invited along with the athletes to attend training camps.

Ryan attended an orientation camp last weekend at the Millennium Institute with Baird.

"It was good, I learned a lot about self monitoring and I am looking forward to the next one."

Sandilands has not yet been away but is keen to improve his knowledge as well.

He is also an accomplished hurdler, winning the New Zealand Secondary Schools title but the high jump remains his priority and that is where Athletics New Zealand believes he has the most potential.

Ryan has been involved in athletics for around seven years while Sandilands has been competing for three.

Both athletes hail from Pleasant Point and both play football as their winter sport.

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- South Canterbury

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