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Press Release




SKY NEXT athletes had an explosive start to the year, with records broken, Olympic spots secured and personal best performances. 

In the past week, six of the SKY NEXT team have achieved winning results – hopefully an indicator of great things to come at the Rio Olympics. 

SKY spokeswoman Kirsty Way says: “We love seeing the SKY NEXT athletes take on the world, and win. This week’s results bode well for the upcoming Rio Olympics and we are excited to be on this journey with our NEXT athletes”. 
Key results include: 

  • David Nyika (20, from Hamilton), the 2014 Commonwealth light heavyweight gold medallist, won the National Championship and is now the undisputed heavyweight champion in New Zealand. Nykia will now focus on the Trans-Tasman Boxing Championships next week, where he will fight Australia’s top heavyweight, before the Asia-Pacific championships where a top-three finish would secure him a place at the Rio Olympic Games. 
  • Jacko Gill (21, from Auckland), kicked off his season at the Big Shot Competition in Christchurch, winning and qualifying for Rio. He also broke the event record; the 21-year-old’s first throw of 20.88m was a personal best and surpassed the Rio Olympic Games ‘A’ performance standard of 20.50m. 
  • Mountain Biker Anton Cooper (21, from Christchurch) and his team mate Dan McConnell took out the win at the inaugural Pioneer 7 day Epic. 
  • Canoe Slalom Paddler Luuka Jones (27, from Tauranga) finished 7th in the Australian Open in Penrith. A great personal result for the lead-up to Rio. 
  • Track Runner Angie Petty (24, from Christchurch) finished 3rd - 2 seconds behind two international runners in the Women’s Street Mile race in Christchurch. 

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. Marisa champions the programme on behalf of SKY and ensures SKY NEXT athletes have an opportunity to raise their profiles with SKY’s support. 

Get behind the SKY NEXT athletes - follow their journeys at sky.co.nz/skynext or on the SKY Sport Facebook page. You can also join in their conversation with #SKYNEXT 

SKY NEXT – Supporting Talented Kiwi Athletes.