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Young optimist sailors the latest recipients of Toyota's 'Believe' scholarship

Young optimist sailors

 

the latest recipients of

Toyota's 'Believe' Scholarship

The dream of five young Kiwi Optimist sailors to win the Optimist World Champs in Malaysia in December 2010 just got easier, with the team winning the latest round of Toyota's 'Believe' scholarships.

Toyota's 'Believe' scholarships were launched in June 2009 to encourage Kiwis to pursue their dreams and help them get their projects or ideas off the ground. So far Toyota has distributed $12,000 to successful applicants, the winners being decided by online public voting after initial vetting by a Toyota panel.

Applications for the scholarships can be found online at www.believe.co.nz , and the key criteria (apart from promoting the idea/project well) is that the applications must align with one of the eight 'Believe' statements, which underpin Toyota's corporate branding and values.

The Optimist team, aged between 13 and 15, were the five top sailors in their class at the New Zealand National Optimist Champs held in April 2010 at Whitianga, this earning them a spot on the New Zealand team.

The team collectively said in their application "We believe that if you can dream it you can do it. Many of New Zealand's Olympic and top professional sailors began their sailing careers in Optimists. We each have our own goals and aspirations for our sailing careers and the chance to represent New Zealand is a stepping stone for each of our goals. Every one of us had the dream to represent our country at the Optimist Worlds, and now the dream is a reality."

The team of Jayvee Buchanan (Christchurch), Olivia Mackay (Napier), Taylor Burn (Picton), Markus Somerville (Auckland) and William Linkhorn (Auckland) have just completed a training session in Auckland to fine tune their sailing in preparation for the World Champs.

Toyota New Zealand Marketing Manager Dave Rhodes-Robinson said "Toyota are thrilled with the outcome of the public voting as Toyota hasbeen along-time sponsor of the National Optimist Champs, and it's fantastic to see the team getting the support from the wider public to go and take on the world - as Kiwi sailors do best."

Many of New Zealand's top international sailors have come up through the Optimist Class (including Dean Barker, skipper of Emirates team New Zealand), and the last time New Zealand won the World Optimist Champs was in 2007 when Chris Steele took out the title.