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Posted: January 2, 2007

Triathlon: BG Scholarships Bring Triathletes And Coaches One Step Closer To Their Olympic Dream

CANADA, Vancouver - Twelve talented triathletes and coaches around the world have come one step closer to their Olympic dreams, having been selected by the International Triathlon Union (ITU) to receive BG Scholarships. The scholarships are one of the many sport development initiatives that have been put in place as a result of ITU’s partnership with the global natural gas business BG Group. BG Scholarships offer the opportunity to build towards the Olympic Games, by placing each athlete under special ITU supervision to support progressive development to elite standards. The eight athletes are from Costa Rica, Croatia, Israel, Sweden, South Africa, Bermuda, Chile and Malaysia. The coaches are from Malta, Macedonia, Sweden and Costa Rica.

Les McDonald, President of the ITU said:

“BG Scholarships is a key component of our sport development programme with the aim of increasing access to quality coaching and boosting an already growing talent pool of BG World Cup athletes. We expect this to have an impact on the number of countries able to send elite triathletes to the Olympic Games.”

“The speed with which we have been able to introduce BG Scholarships demonstrates the solid support that we have from our partner BG Group and together we look forward to following the development of these athletes and coaches over the next few years.”

Sara Sizer, Group Head of Marketing, BG Group said:

“We are committed to focussing our efforts on Sport Development and making a positive contribution to the success of triathlon across the world. Through the provision of the 2007 BG Scholarships we will be supporting ten countries, creating leading coaches and hopefully a new generation of Olympians.”

Applications for scholarships were submitted to ITU Sport Development in November and out of the huge talent pool, eight athletes and four coaches were selected. The athletes are Leonardo Chacon, Costa Rica; Zvonko Cubric, Croatia; Dan Alterman, Israel; Lisa Norden, Sweden; Mari Rabie, South Africa; Flora Duffy, Bermuda; Barbara Riveros, Chile; Kimberley Yap, Malaysia.

The package and length of each athlete scholarship will be tailored to the individual’s needs. The funding will assist athletes to travel, train and make use of sport science support in their quest to qualify for the Olympic Games in 2007. The National Federations, athletes and their coaches will work closely with ITU Sport Development to make sure that their long and short term training and racing plans for the scholarship athletes optimise their potential and the resources made available to them. “I feel really honoured to have been selected for this scholarship. It’s my ambition to represent my country at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and 2012 London Olympic Games. The support from BG Group and ITU will make a huge difference to my coaching and the number of races that I am able to compete in as part of my training programme.”

ITU Sport Development also selected four National Federations in Malta, Macedonia, Sweden and Costa Rica who will be able to put forward one of their leading national coaches for the BG Scholarship. These individuals will benefit from advice from leading triathlon experts at specific ITU regional coaching clinics.

About BG Scholarships
• The scholarship initiative launched in October, inviting newly formed and emerging National Federations to submit applications.
• Nominated athletes needed to be registered with their National Federations and have shown the ability to race at a high standard in Continental Cup race or World Cup level competition. Athletes also had to show commitment to competing long term with the Olympic Games as an ultimate objective. A top five place at a Continental Championship at U23 or Junior category and a top eight place at a Continental Championship at elite category in the last two years were also fundamental requirements.
• In the case of the coach scholarships, each individual needed to be currently working with national level athletes and have the full backing of their National Federation. About International Triathlon Union
• The International Triathlon Union was founded in 1989 in Avignon, France and now has over 100 affiliated national federations around the world.
• Triathlon was awarded Olympic status in 1994 and the ITU is the youngest International Federation in the Olympics. For further information visit www.triathlon.org

About BG Group
• BG Group plc is a global natural gas business. Active on five continents in over 25 countries, it operates four business segments - Exploration and Production, LNG, Transmission and Distribution and Power. BG Group seeks to support social and economic development in the communities where it does business by providing structured funding for community initiatives that match its skills transfer theme. For more information, visit www.bg-group.com
• BG Group’s sponsorship portfolio is called Energy for life. The partnership with the International Triathlon Union is one of four that make up the Energy for life portfolio. For further information visit www.bg-group.com.


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