Sports and athletes have received a welcome boost with confirmation that Australian Institute of Sport funding for sports has been confirmed through to the end of June 2022.
Federal Minister for Youth and Sport, Senator Richard Colbeck announced the confirmed funding, committing the AIS to a $115 million for Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games sports for the 2021-22 financial year.
The AIS will increase direct investment into Paralympic sport by more than $3million in 2021-22 and will extend current funding levels for the majority of able-bodied sports through to the end of June 2022.
In addition, Para-sport has received an additional $3million boost, which will have a big impact on Para-sport disciplines in the lead up to Birmingham 2022 – which will feature the biggest fully integrated Para-sport program in Commonwealth Games history.
The funding support will ensure high performance programs will be secure through to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, something strongly advocated by Commonwealth Games Australia, with the full support of the Australian Olympic Committee and Paralympics Australia.
Commonwealth Games Australia President Ben Houston said the confirmation of funding through to the end of 2022 will benefit not only our Commonwealth Games performances in Birmingham but will have a lasting impact on athletes in Australia.
“Our sports now have certainty through to Birmingham and can confidently prepare our athletes for the Games in 2022,” Houston said.
“Para-sport is fully integrated at the Commonwealth Games, and Birmingham will see the biggest program in Games history, so the funding boost will also help our para-sport athletes immensely.”
Houston thanked the Federal Government and Australian Sports Commission (ASC) chair John Wylie and the ASC Board for their commitment to supporting Australian sport during the COVID-19 crisis.
“John Wylie has been a strong supporter and advocate for Commonwealth Games sports throughout his tenure as ASC Chair and his understanding and leadership on the issues impacting sports in the lead up to Tokyo has been crucial to providing our sports with the ability to rebound as quickly as possible,” Houston said.
“With the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and Commonwealth Games now back-to-back in 2021 and 2022, this funding will allow sports to ensure the best possible preparation for our teams in Tokyo and then Birmingham, and we would also expect to see the benefits all the way to Paris in 2024.”
Commonwealth Games Australia Chief Executive Officer Craig Phillips thanked both John Wylie and Peter Conde for their work in ensuring certainty of funding, whilst recognising the importance of the Commonwealth Games as a key contributor to Australian sporting success.
“As we saw during the lead-up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics and Paralympics, Australian sport works at its best when in partnership and this commitment provides the certainty that our Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games sports need at this very difficult time,” Phillips said.
Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck said: “the funding decisions strike a balance in providing certainty and flexibility as athletes look ahead to the Paris 2024 Olympics.”
Paralympics Australia President Jock O’Callaghan described the boost in Para-sport funding as “a significant moment in the evolution of Paralympic sport in Australia,”
“We are proud and thankful that the Federal Government recognises the value and impact of growing investment into Paralympic sport and has entrusted us with greater responsibility to lead and grow our movement even further,” O’Callaghan said.
ASC Chair John Wylie said funding certainty was a crucial issue for sports.
“This gives sports funding clarity for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics and the 2022 Commonwealth Games. It is also a springboard towards Paris 2024,” Wylie said.
“We are particularly pleased to also announce an increase of $3.02 million funding to Paralympic sports, which will benefit 13 sporting programs.
“Since 2012, the ASC has increased funding to Paralympic sports by 40 per cent. Paralympic sports in Australia now receive an equal or greater share of AIS funding on a comparable basis to other major Olympic and Paralympic nations. We are truly delighted this is the case. These are merit-based investments reflecting the achievements of our Paralympic athletes, but they are also further recognition of how they inspire our nation.”
ASC Commissioner and Paralympic and Commonwealth Games champion Kurt Fearnley said the funding announcement was vital for the future recognition and growth of Paralympic sport.
“It is 20 years since the Sydney 2000 Paralympics, which helped create an incredible legacy for Paralympic sport in Australia,” Fearnley said.
“We’ve worked hard to maintain that culture of success and the requirement to be a Paralympic athlete now means you need your heart, soul and life committed to that sport. So we’re investing and creating new pathways to ensure we keep our reputation as one of the strongest Para-sport communities in the world.
“A key feature of this Paralympic funding is that it’s being directed straight to National Sporting Organisations so that sports can take real ownership in developing their Paralympic programs. That’s important to ensure we raise the prominence of Paralympic programs right across Australian sport.”
AIS CEO Peter Conde said the overall funding decisions achieve the right balance between providing sports with longer-term certainty but also providing flexibility for performance-based changes in the lead-up to Paris 2024.
“We’re in a unique situation where this current Games cycle has extended to five years, so we will only have three years between Tokyo and Paris” Conde said.
“The AIS will continue discussions with sports with the aim of announcing the remainder of funding for the complete Paris cycle by December 2021.
“In the meantime, by giving sports high performance funding certainty through to June 2022, we are giving sports and athletes the best possible chance to succeed on the world stage at major upcoming international events.
“It’s good news in particular for Commonwealth Games sports looking ahead to Birmingham 2022.”
The 13 Paralympic programs receiving an increase in funding including Commonwealth Games sports of athletics, basketball, bowls, cycling, triathlon, table tennis and swimming.
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will make global sport history by becoming the first ever major multi-sport event to award more medals to women than men and will feature the biggest ever integrated Para–sport program and a record 13 mixed events including diving, swimming relays and for the first time – a mixed Para-athletics relay.
Commonwealth Games Australia is planning to send one of its largest teams to compete in an away campaign with an expected team size of 425 athletes across 19 sports, including the recently introduced women’s T20 cricket.
The largest team for an away Commonwealth Games is 409 athletes in Glasgow in 2014.
Australia was represented by 473 athletes on the Gold Coast with the team topping the medal tally with 80 gold, 59 silver and 59 bronze medals.
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will take place from 28 July to 8 August.
To find out more, visit www.birmingham2022.com where you can also sign-up to receive the latest updates about the Games and hear about tickets and volunteer opportunities first.
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