BikeNZ is excited about its burgeoning track sprint programme which received a significant boost with the award to world champion Sam Webster at the Halberg Awards in Auckland.
Webster (Auckland), who won three gold medals at the 2009 UCI Junior World Championships, was announced as the Westpac Emerging Talent Award winner.
He is New Zealand’s most successful junior at a world championship, eclipsing the two gold medals by Sarah Ulmer in the individual pursuit and points race at Quito, Ecuador in 1994.
The Auckland teenager has won three of only seven gold medals ever won by New Zealand at the junior world track championships following Alan Miller in the kilo time trial at Wanganui in 1983, Ulmer’s double in 1994 and the team pursuit in 2005 in Austria.
Webster thanks BikeNZ’s key administrators and coaches for “believing in us and establishing a sprint programme.”
He paid special tribute to his coach, Justin Grace, who is now the national sprint coach, and also his major sponsors.
“That my mum and dad and the family. I will get around to cleaning my room one day,” Sam joked.
“I am over the moon. Ecstatic. I am confident that we have the athletes in the programme and coming up and we have set the ball rolling. I believe BikeNZ cyclists will be a force to be reckoned with at the next Olympics and beyond.”
And Sam has set some lofty goals for himself along the way.
“I was to be the best track sprinter New Zealand and the world has seen.”
Sam won a $15,000 grant for his efforts.
BikeNZ were honoured with four finalists in this year’s Halberg with world individual pursuit champion Alison Shanks and double world BMX champion Sarah Walker finalists in the Sportswoman of the Year and Tim Carswell a finalist in the Coach of the Year.