High Performance athletes settle in to study

Friday, 24 February 2012
NZ Beach Volleyballer and High Performance Academy student, Paora Morunga.

Amongst the 3,000 plus students who had their first day at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic on Monday are eight sportsmen and women fast climbing the ladder of success.

The nine make up this year’s Bay of Plenty Polytechnic High Performance Academy and represent sports ranging from beach volley ball, surfing, netball, surf life saving, golf, duathlon, judo and wrestling.

Joseph Moreti is in his second year of a Diploma in Marine studies – so the fact he was also captained the NZ Junior Surf Team competing in the Wold Surfing Games in Peru last year seems an apt fit.

Bay of Plenty netball representative Tayla Blanchard describes herself as extremely motivated with her ultimate goal being to play netball for the Silver Ferns. In the meantime, she plans to use that motivation off the court as well, studying a Certificate in Fitness.

Also in the swing of it completing the second year of a Diploma in Architecture is Omanu Junior Classic Golf Champion (2010 and 2011) Benjamin Shanly-Te Whare. As well as playing (and winning) numerous tournaments throughout Australasia, Ben improved his position in the Junior Inter-Provincial team from number five to number two.

Beach Volleyball player Morgan Seymour is also a returning High Performance athlete, now in the second year of a Diploma in Sport and Recreation. 2011 saw Morgan and his playing partner place ninth in the Beach Volleyball Youth World Champs – this year he’s planning to make it in the top three!

Eighteen year old Marshall Gibson was part of the 2011 New Zealand Wrestling Team competing at the Oceania Games in Samoa gaining two bronze medals ranking him third in Oceania. He also won Gold at the Downunder Tournament in Australia and won a New Zealand National title. He’s aiming high to compete at both the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics – all while studying electrical engineering.

Heidi-Jane James is described as a high profile type-1 insulin dependent diabetic endurance athlete – that’s quite a mouthful for this athlete who was born to run. Studying a Diploma in Sport Heidi intends to keep on competing at the highest level in duathlon as well as mentoring other athletes from around the world with type-1 diabetes.

Another beach Volleyballer at the top of his game is Paora Morunga. In his second year of Diploma in Sport and Recreation, Paora has represented New Zealand numerous times in his chosen sport and is looking forward to heading off the Under 21 Beach Volleyball World Champs later in the year.

Diploma in Tourism (international flight attending) student Monique Dekkers has been giving it her all in Judo for the last 11 years. She is number one in New Zealand and is a keen member of the New Zealand Judo team.

The High Performance Sports Scholarships are awarded annually to students who excel in their sports at a national and international level and who provide positive role models for our students. The full-fee paying scholarships allow students to concentrate on their sport and studies without the financial burden associated with studying and provide them with sports science services to enhance their sports performance.

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