London Olympian and World Short Course Championships bronze medalist Matthew Stanley of New Zealand is one of 18 athletes who has been chosen for the SKY NEXT Initiative, which will help support young athletes whose goal is to excel on the world stage.
“SKY is the home of sport in New Zealand and we are passionate about Kiwis achieving at all levels,” John Fellet, SKY’s CEO told Yahoo New Zealand.
SKY TV is New Zealand’s largest pay television platform and has four SKY sports channels (SKY 1 to 4).
“SKY NEXT is an innovative initiative investing in promising young kiwis at a local level. We understand how tough it is to break through from being good in NZ to being a world champion and we wanted to do something about it.”
Stanley had a breakthrough season in 2012 qualifying for the New Zealand Olympic team, ultimately finishing 15th in the 400 freestyle at the Games, then going on to win a bronze in the same event at the World Short Course Championships in Istanbul.
Last year Stanley represented New Zealand at the World Championships in Barcelona qualifying for the semi-finals in the 200 freestyle, eventually finishing 16th and finishing 10th in the 400 freestyle. He also finished the year ranked 18th in the world in the 400 freestyle and 22nd in the 200 freestyle.
The program will not only provide Stanley with financial support, but will also provide him media training, mentoring, coaching and publicity.
The program will be led by 2004 Olympic triathlon gold medallist Hamish Carter and his wife Marisa, “SKY NEXT provides much needed help on an athlete’s way to the top,” Carter told Yahoo New Zealand.
“An athlete trying to be world-class often has many gaps to fill. SKY NEXT helps them target a couple of those gaps through financial support as well as providing help from Marisa and me about how they can make the most of this opportunity. We want to help them go from being in the top 20 internationally to the top 10 or even world champion.”