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Toyota Believe scholarship winner strikes gold at triathlon world champs

Two days after being voted Toyota's latest Believe Scholarship winner, Hamish Hammond celebrated the $3,000 grant by winning two titles at the Triathlon Age Group World Championships in China.

Hamish, a student at Massey University, arrived home in the Manawatu - jet-lagged and still tired from his races - after a whirlwind trip to Beijing where he scorched his way to two gold medals for the 20-24 age group.

With temperatures above 30�C every day, Hamish says the biggest challenge was making sure the athletes were fully hydrated for their training and races. He was one of 100 Kiwi athletes who attended the event.

Hamish says the scholarship allowed him to fully focus on his races knowing most of his travel costs had been met.

"The support from Toyota through the Believe scholarship has been amazing. It has allowed me to compete successfully in the World Champs and has taken away the huge financial burden that I would have been left with once I returned home", says Hamish.

"I am very grateful to Toyota for providing me with this opportunity. I am proud to be one of the Believe Scholarship recipients and to have my name among former amazing recipients who have inspired and motivated me to pursue my dream".

Toyota New Zealand Marketing Manager Dave Rhodes-Robinson says: "We were blown away by Hamish's achievements."

"The Believe scholarships are all about helping Kiwis achieve their dreams - whether they are aiming for gold or not - but two world championship golds sure is a nice bonus! Hamish is obviously going to be a name to watch in the future, and like all those who voted for him, we're proud to have been a part of his early success."

Hamish has only been competing in triathlons for two years since he moved to Palmerston North to study at Massey University from his home in Greytown, Wairarapa.

"I had enough of looking at the bottom of the pool and decided it was time to try something new", says Hamish who swam competitively for many years before turning to triathlons.

"The opportunities for me to compete in triathlons while living in the Wairarapa were very limited. Once I moved to Palmerston North, I signed up with a coach and began training".

"My training is very time intensive and I spend on average 18-25 hours a week. I try to join up with local clubs where I can, and I now swim with the local squad and do part of my cycling training with Manawatu Masters".

Toyota's Believe Scholarship's were established in 2009 and have now awarded $21,000 to New Zealanders who epitomise the company's Believe values and culture.

Applications for the next round close on November 30 - people can apply online and learn more about Believe at www.believe.co.nz.

 

Footnote: Previous Believe Scholarship winners

 

Round 1: Finn Drummond and Francisco Lardies, Auckland based Optimist sailors

Round 2:Camp Quality,national charity- camp for children with cancer

Round 3:Tawa College, Wellington - USA History Trip

Round 4:The New Zealand Optimist Team, national team - Optimist World Champs Dec 2010, Malaysia

Round 5: Jono Nelson, Timaru based cyclistaiming for 2012 Paralympics

Round 6: Gemma Fletcher, Auckland - Adaptive Skier aiming towards the Winter Paralympics in 2014