A new high performance sport pilot programme is underway in Canterbury, aimed to help support up and coming athletes and coaches who have potential to perform on the world stage.
So far, 12 coaches and 60 athletes have been identified including a trio of young Cantabrian pugilists from the Smiling Tigers Boxing Club in Wainoni and Woolston Boxing Club.
Hamuera Tainui, Daniel Meehan and Leon Gibson mean business too - they've got 12 national crowns and numerous New Zealand and Australian golden glove titles between them.
“It’s in my blood,” Hamuera said.
“Dad and uncle used to box and I followed their footsteps and a little longer than their footsteps.”
For Meehan, those footsteps are going to special places.
“My dream is to win an Olympic gold for New Zealand and after that, turn pro and win world titles.”
Their ambitions been recognised through the Performance Pathway pilot, which High Performance Sport NZ regional pathways lead Andrew Ellis said is designed to help turn dreams into goals.
“The soft skills associated with the kids, they’re the real things we need to look for at this age,” Ellis said.
“The ones exhibiting coachability, ability to learn, growth mindset – they’re the attributes that'll take their talent and turn into potential competitors on the world stage.”
The pilot is a pre-high performance set up that allows coaches and athletes to access targeted support; everything from nutrition to strength and conditioning.
Woolston coach Holly Sullivan said the programme will open up doors for everyone.
“It’s the nitty gritty we needed; help and support with training to create the pathway to get them to the next things and making sure we're doing the right things and not causing injuries,” she said.
It also means they share facilities with New Zealand sporting's elites such as shot putter Tom Walsh.
“It’s the best thing we’ve ever had, I’ve ever had,” Hamuera said.
“I’ve been training at home, then Woolston. Now, I’ve got the best facilities I could ask for training with the best of the best of all sports.”