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News posted on Tuesday 11th October, 2022

Athlete Leaders Network launches

ALN tree planting ceremony

Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) Chief Executive Fiona Allan believes this is a historic moment in New Zealand for all athletes with the establishment of an independent athlete’s voice mechanism with a focus on welfare.

“We understand the powerful impact that athlete voice can have on the work of all individuals and organisations and the importance of this within sport. The newly established PNZ Athletes’ Council has had a huge impact on our work within Para sport including the development of the PNZ Wellbeing Strategy which will inform the work across the PNZ Wellbeing Plan. The Athlete Leaders Network will enable the Council to extend its reach through Anna’s role as an interim board member, providing a Para athlete voice and leadership in all decision making. Congratulations to Paralympian Anna Taylor and thank you for her ongoing commitment to advocacy and empowerment for all athletes.”

PNZ CE Fiona Allan

The Athlete Leaders Network (ALN) was unveiled at a tree-planting ceremony in Auckland on 10 October 2022.

Athlete welfare and advocacy will be key focus areas for the ALN with recruitment already underway to appoint a General Manager further detail here.

The ALN will be an independent mechanism having the resource to ensure athlete voice is brought into decision-making across the high-performance sport system and will be able to call on external resources and advice where necessary.

“This initiative is by athletes, for athletes,” says NZOC Athletes’ Commission Chair Sarah Cowley Ross. “Athletes have told us they want a network that can build athlete mana, promote a well-being focus across the system, serve the needs of diverse sports, athletes, and funding levels, and provide support for athletes to grow their leadership and advocacy capability. The new ALN will deliver this.”

Chair of the Drug Free Sport New Zealand Athletes’ Commission and WADA Athletes Commission Chair Ben Sandford will sit on the ALN interim board adding “An athlete voice mechanism that is focused on advocacy, capability and wellbeing is crucial to the health of our high performance system. We need to have diverse athletes from across both funded, and non-funded, sports empowered to advocate for what’s important to them.”

PNZ Athletes’ Council representative and ALN interim board member Anna Taylor says she’s looking forward to the opportunity to make a difference for athletes.

“The Athlete Leaders Network will strengthen the athlete voice and champion a greater focus on wellbeing in the high-performance space,” said Taylor. “It includes equitable representation for Para athletes, so our voices are heard in the decision making. With this kind of authentic representation, we have an exciting opportunity for the future of high-performance sport in New Zealand.”

Paralympian #225 Anna Taylor

The ALN Board will comprise the Chairs, or their nominees, of the NZOC Athletes’ Commission, the DFSNZ Athletes’ Commission and the PNZ Athletes’ Council, with four further appointments to be made. Applications for the General Manager role further details here close on 25 October.

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