New Zealand women chase the Olympic dream   28 May 2012

The Olympic dream just got a little closer for 49 young women from around the country who have been hand-picked for the next phase of the Go4Gold New Zealand Women's Sevens programme.

New Zealand Women's Sevens Coach Sean Horan has selected a group of players to take part in several training camps over the next few months, following the success of the Go4Gold recruitment programme that saw over 1000 female athletes registered from around the country.

The programme seeks to select and develop a Women's Sevens team to contest for a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The last of 14 talent identification camps was held in Counties Manukau last week after beginning the search for Olympic hopefuls in Wellington in February. Athletes from a wide range of sporting codes, including football, netball, rowing and hockey, took part in the open trials.

Horan said he was impressed with the quality of players that turned up to trial.

"We have now identified an initial group of players that will form the base of our programme as we work towards Rio.

"These players have been given development programmes to work on and we will monitor their progress through a series of domestic training camps over the next 12 months," he said.

Horan said New Zealand would look to begin attending invitational international tournaments in the latter half of the year to further develop the team.

"These first eight or nine months have really been about building a base of players here at home that will form the foundations of our Olympic programme. We believe that this will put us in the best position in four years' time to be on that podium in Rio," he added.

A smaller group of 28 players has been selected to attend the first of the next-phase camps at the Waiouru Military Training Facility, from 8-10 June. Camps involving the wider group of players will take place later in the year.

The 28 players selected for the Waiouru Camp are:

Wellington
Shakira Baker
Hilla Fukofuka

Canterbury
Kendra Cocksedge
Kelsey Berryman
Ruby Tui
Lucy Ryan
Hannah Brand

Waikato
Chyna Hohepa
Jordan Webber
Carla Hohepa
Honey Hireme

Manawatu
Selica Winiata
Sarah Goss
Kristina Sue

Taranaki
Lauren Burgess
Michaela Blyde

Auckland
Charlene Halapua
Mere Hufunga
Tyla Nathan-Wong
Kayla McAlister
Linda Itunu
Huriana Manuel

North Harbour
Amanda Rasch

Hawkes Bay
Candis Cardie

Otago
Soraya Umaga-Jensen
Halie Hurring

Counties
Hazel Tubic
Marama Davis

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