More than 1,000 Kiwi athletes from 31 sports are officially targeting next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo with the New Zealand team long list now in place.
The long list, finalised by the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) and National Federations to mark one year to go until Tokyo 2020, is the first in a number of official steps taken by athletes as they work towards selection and forms an important basis for Olympic Games planning.
More than half of it is made up of athletes in team sports, including men's and women's squads for basketball, football, hockey and rugby sevens.
Baseball and waterpolo teams have also been included, for the first time, while athletics, cycling, equestrian and rowing are well represented with those sports all having between 50 and 85 names.
There are also Kiwi athletes in each of the four sports being introduced to the Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020 - karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing.
"Selection for the New Zealand Olympic team is tough," NZOC chief executive Kereyn Smith said.
"While a long list typically has more than 1,000 athlete names on it, the final team will end up being around 200.
"Each and every athlete will be dedicated to the task ahead.
"With the long list in place, we can help make sure athletes are progressing towards meeting the New Zealand team selection standard and have met eligibility requirements around things like integrity, anti-doping and citizenship.
"The long list also helps us manage the complex logistics around the Olympic Games and can help those on the road to Tokyo 2020 understand what to expect."
Smith added: "We have a proud Olympic legacy.
"We’re fortunate to have so many athletes working towards the Olympic Games and we expect next year’s team to Tokyo 2020 to be our biggest ever.
The NZOC's selection criteria requires athletes to demonstrate they are capable of finishing in the top 16 of their event at Tokyo 2020, with potential to finish in the top eight.
Nomination criteria, which describe the events and results an athlete needs to demonstrate the NZOC selection standard, are developed in conjunction with each National Federation.
Selections for the New Zealand team are due to begin in late February and conclude just prior to the Olympics in July.
Athletes may be included on the long list by their National Federation if they are in contention for the Olympics and meet the relevant International Federation eligibility criteria.
Once an athlete is included on the long list, they are required to complete an athlete application, Drug Free Sport New Zealand declaration, athlete agreement and additional Games Organising Committee requirements.
Athletes then work towards being both nominated by their National Federation for consideration of selection to the New Zealand Olympic team by the NZOC.
Nomination and selection to the New Zealand team is reliant on a quota spot being secured for the event at the Olympics, either by country or by name, as well as fulfilment by the athlete of their documentation obligations, meeting the National Federation’s nomination criteria, and meeting the NZOC selection policy.
Athletes may appeal to their National Federation and the New Zealand Sports Tribunal in case of non-nomination, and may appeal to the NZOC and the New Zealand Sports Tribunal in case of non-selection.