Australian Commonwealth Games CEO Craig Phillips today said he was confident of a strong Australian team performance at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, with the aspiration to return to the top of the medal tally.
Phillips said that with the Rio Olympics now complete, attention would be turned to analysing team performance and working together with all stakeholders to ensure the best possible results for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“We have seen many outstanding performances in Rio and are looking forward to the performance of our athletes at the Paralympics in the coming days,” Phillips said.
“There has been a lot of commentary about team performance emanating from Rio, and while some athletes will no doubt be disappointed in their performances, looking ahead to the Gold Coast 2018, I believe there was great deal to be excited about.”
“The performances of Kyle Chalmers and Mack Horton in the pool, Ella Nelson and our 4x400m women’s relay team on the track, along with members of the men’s team pursuit at the velodrome are just some of the examples of young athletes who performed incredibly well and should only improve heading into Gold Coast 2018,” he said.
Phillips said he had been buoyed by the performance of athletes in Rio who had been part of the Australian Commonwealth Games Association’s NextGEN funding program.
“Some 120 athletes in the Rio team have been a beneficiary of the Australian Commonwealth Games Association’s NextGEN program, which identifies and assists emerging young athletes.”
“Twenty two of those athletes won medals in Rio – including six involved in gold medal performances – while many others recorded outstanding results such as Dani Samuels in the discus, Ryan Gregson in the 1500m and Brooke Stratton in the long jump.”
Given the success of the NextGEN and the Gold Coast GOLD funding programs, Phillips announced that the ACGA had – in a decision made prior to the Rio Olympics – committed a further one million dollars to the eight million dollar Gold Coast GOLD program to best prepare athletes for 2018.
With attention set to be turned to the funding of sports programs in Australia, Phillips warned against any rash changes.”
“The Winning Edge strategy implemented after London 2012 was a 10 year strategy, of which we are just three years in,” Phillips said.
“From the outset, the view was that the first real measure of success would be Gold Coast 2018.”
“This is the time for all peak bodies and sports to work together on areas of improvement. “It is our absolute aspiration to return to being the number one in the Commonwealth by 2018 and we are excited by the challenge that lies ahead,” he said.