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Pirmin Zurbriggen ambassador of the Oerlikon sponsorship programme for junior talent

Oerlikon to support Swiss skiing talent
Oerlikon to support Swiss skiing talent

Lenzerheide, 17 March 2007 - from next season, OC Oerlikon Corporation AG, Pfäffikon, will support young Swiss skiing talent with a view to successfully bringing them up to world class level. With Pirmin Zurbriggen, Oerlikon has developed a comprehensive junior talent sponsorship programme which also includes performance-based Oerlikon scholarships and will establish the FIS Oerlikon Junior Tour as a new top junior ski race series from the 2008/09 season. Over the next five years Oerlikon will invest CHF 1.4m in the implementation of the ambitious programme. "With Oerlikon as a strong partner we are offering our young talent an ideal training and competition environment as the basis for future success", enthuses Pirmin Zurbriggen.

Under the auspices of Pirmin Zurbriggen and Oerlikon a junior sponsorship programme based on three different levels has been developed. The comprehensive sponsorship ranges from support for schooling and sporting facilities to individual promotion of young talent, through to support for organisers of junior ski races.

Special attention will be devoted to sponsorship for juniors I and juniors II (1987-1991 age-groups). These will receive direct support from Oerlikon in the form of scholarships and prize money and indirect support in the form of investment in the structures and general conditions in the run-up to the world cup.

"Oerlikon would like to make an active contribution in paving the way to international success for young Swiss talent. Just as with our company, we would also like to create an ideal environment for the development of promising talent in Swiss skiing to facilitate top performance", explains Head of Corporate Communications, Burkhard Böndel. Continuous striving for dynamics and top performances links sport and business and creates a mutual understanding in relation to the development and expansion of sustainable structures for success. Over the next 5 years Oerlikon will invest a total of some CHF 1.4m in junior Swiss skiing.
Oerlikon is one of the world's leading high-tech groups today. With more than 500 trainees, a comprehensive trainee programme as well as systematic further training, great importance is attached to the development of employees. "This is a role model which can be ideally transferred to the realm of sport. We are therefore especially delighted that Oerlikon has taken on responsibility for this promising project", believes Pirmin Zurbriggen, sponsor and ambassador for the programme.

Oerlikon and Pirmin Zurbriggen are very interested in ensuring that the funds provided are directly channelled to the athletes and sponsored facilities (schools, racing organisations, etc.). Pirmin Zurbriggen will itself co-ordinate the appropriate use of the financial funding. "Oerlikon is making it possible for us to forge new paths at junior Alpine level and has honoured us with the active support provided by this mutual, innovative project", emphasises Mr Zurbriggen.

Details of the Oerlikon junior sponsorship programme

Oerlikon will invest CHF 285,000 in the sponsorship programme annually; this is broken down as follows:

1. Structures and support
The three national performance centres (NLZ) in Brig, Davos and Engelberg as well as the Swiss Skiing Academy (SSA) in Brig will each receive annual sponsorship totalling CHF 30,000.
This investment in the sporting and schooling infrastructure is designed to maintain the quality of these newly created facilities at a high standard and to reduce the financial burden on both junior talent and parents.

2. Oerlikon scholarship
It is the transition from youth to junior age-groups (ages 15 to 16) in particular that is one of the most difficult in the career of an athlete. The question arises: education or work? This is where Oerlikon wishes to become involved and to provide individual support for skiers. Ten Oerlikon scholarships in the amount of CHF 5,000 each will be awarded every year. The five girls and boys ranked top of the SSV chart for the previous junior year (2007: year of birth 1992) will be entitled to a scholarship. The scholarship is earmarked for further school, career and sports training costs.

3. Events
Professionally organised competitions are an important basis for competitive performances by budding athletes. As part of the third plank of the programme, Oerlikon will offer support for the organisers of junior races in order to provide an incentive for junior competitions at the highest level.

3.1. Oerlikon 2008 Swiss Junior Championships
In cooperation with Swiss-Ski the national championships will be held exclusively for juniors (juniors I and juniors II) from 2008. Separate organisation of the technical and speed disciplines is planned. There are also plans to hold a super combination for the first time in order to prepare the juniors even more specifically for their future performance in the world cup. Oerlikon will appear as the title sponsor of the junior championship and will provide the racing organisation with direct support in the form of a contribution to the organisation. The amount of support depends on the discipline to be organised and will range from CHF 2,000 (slalom) to CHF 5,000 (downhill).

3.2. FIS Oerlikon Junior Tour (from 2009)
From 2009 Oerlikon will launch its own junior skier racing series (juniors I & juniors II) with Swiss-Ski. During the season some 20 races in all 5 disciplines will be held and these will be organised under the umbrella of the FIS Oerlikon Junior Tour. As with the Swiss junior championship Oerlikon will provide financial support for the organisers of the races and will be the title sponsor.

4. Oerlikon prize money
Apart from supporting the organisers of the 2008 Swiss junior championships and the FIS Oerlikon Junior Tour (from 2009), the company will also honour the performances of participating junior athletes and will award further prize money. The attractive prize money will provide the best junior skiers with additional motivation to participate in races and will guarantee competition at the highest level. Just as with the Oerlikon scholarships, the prize money is earmarked to cover any school or training costs incurred.

4.1. Oerlikon 2008 Swiss Junior Championships
The five top-placed athletes in every discipline of the Swiss junior championships will receive prize money ranging from CHF 2,000 for the winner to CHF 250 for the fifth placed. A total of CHF 80,000 will be paid out.

4.2. FIS Oerlikon Tour (from 2009)
There will be overall standings for the FIS Oerlikon Junior Tour held from 2009, combining the race results for all five disciplines.
The first five girls and boys in the overall standings (juniors I and juniors II) will receive prize money from Oerlikon ranging from CHF 4,000 for the winner to CHF 1,000 for the fifth place. From 2009 CHF 45,000 in prize money will be paid out to the athletes each year as part of the FIS Oerlikon Junior Tour.

Franz Hofer, Head of Alpine Junior Promotion and School at Swiss-Ski welcomes the trend-setting initiative: "In the junior area the media interest is by no means as great as at world cup level. This substantial investment by Oerlikon in Swiss junior skiing is all the more welcome. Support for the academy, recently created as part of the 2010 junior promotion programme, and the national performance centres is very important to Swiss-Ski. It allows these training facilities to offer their vital school, career and sports education facilities for racing skiers at a lower cost for everybody."

For further information, please contact:

Sara Vermeulen-Anastasi

Sara Vermeulen-Anastasi

Head of Group Communications

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