Budding sports stars have become recipients at this year’s AMP Scholarships National Awards Evening held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on 4 December. AMP New Zealand Managing Director Jack Regan was delighted to award $200,000 in scholarships to passionate and determined New Zealanders striving to ‘do their thing’.
AMP’s Chief Customer Officer, Jeff Ruscoe, says, ‘The commonality our sporting recipients share is a commitment, love and passion for their chosen sport – whether that’s BMX bike riding, high diving or bodybuilding. We’re excited to be able to offer financial assistance to sports that are not mainstream well-funded pursuits. We’re delighted to be able to help them on their path to success.’
Sacha Earnest: BMX
Eight year old, Sacha Earnest, will use her $10,000 AMP National Scholarship to compete at the UCI 2015 BMX World Championships in Belgium, defending two world championship titles and promoting the sport of BMX to Kiwi girls. She says simply that she races ‘as fast as I can!’. ‘I’d like to inspire other kids, especially girls, to ride their bikes or try any sport, get out, make goals and reach for the stars,’ says Sacha. ‘I’d like to show the world that Kiwis can do anything!’
Elizabeth Cui: Diving
Diver, Elizabeth Cui, is aiming to make it to the Olympic Games. She was awarded an AMP National Scholarship, worth $10,000. Cui says, ‘The only thing standing in the way of my dreams was finance’. The AMP National Scholarship will enable her to work towards competing at this year’s World Junior Diving Championships with the hope of qualifying for the Olympic Games and making New Zealand proud.
‘Diving is a very small, non-funded sport in New Zealand,’ says Elizabeth. ‘Sending athletes like myself overseas to show the world we’re talented and hard working, is a very amazing and inspirational accomplishment.’
Paul Kennerley: Bodybuilding
Competitive fitness athlete Paul Kennerley was the recipient of the AMP People Scholarship, available to employees of AMP. He was given $5,000 to compete in the muscle model division at the World Bodybuilding Fitness and Fashion championships in Las Vegas in 2015 – a first for a New Zealander. Paul has previously represented New Zealand twice in Australia and once in Tahiti, but his underlying aim is to inspire youth to change their lives through fitness.
‘I grew up a slender child, often very self-conscious,’ says Paul. ‘It didn’t help when I left home and went from a skinny kid to a chubby kid. I joined a gym aged 22, lost the weight and became fascinated with self-improvement and what my body was capable of. It led to a love of the sport of bodybuilding.’
One of the most rewarding moments of Paul’s bodybuilding career has been training young athletes and he says,’To me, success was seeing a young athlete who I trained succeed and then receive an email from his mother thanking me for what I’d done and the changes she has seen in her child – from being concerned each time she received a text from him, to seeing him become excited about life.’
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