Commonwealth Games Australia has welcomed news that the Australian Government is backing our high performance athletes by investing $50.6 million over the next two years to ensure Australia remains a world-leading sporting nation.
The funding support will ensure the high performance programs will be secure through to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Commonwealth Games Australia President Ben Houston applauded the Government’s decision.
“This funding provides certainty for our member sports, many of whom are facing significant challenges,” Houston said. “It’s also a huge boost for our athletes,” 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.”
Commonwealth Games Australia Chief Executive Officer Craig Phillips said the funding will provide much needed certainty during a time of immense stress for sports and athletes.
Phillips also thanked Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll and Paralympics Australia CEO Lynne Anderson for their work in securing the funding for sports and athletes for the upcoming Summer and Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games and Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
“Australians love watching our athletes on the world stage and the new calendar provides our athletes with a once in a lifetime opportunity to compete in these major Games back-to-back. Confirmed funding will allow sports to maximise this opportunity and this will be of huge benefit to our athletes. Phillips said.
Swimmer Cate Campbell, who won four gold medals at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games told The Sunday Telegraph: “This will help safeguard the careers of athletes. This gives athletes a sense of certainty in a time that is so uncertain.”
In announcing the funding, Minister for Youth and Sport, Senator Richard Colbeck, said the Government is committed to helping Australia’s sporting sector impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the Tokyo 2020 Games rescheduled to 2021, the Olympics and Paralympics are likely to be one of the first major international sporting events to take place following the COVID-19 pandemic, with Australian athletes set to inspire the next generation of athletes,” Minister Colbeck said.
“This funding will support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes and coaches as they prepare for Tokyo, as well as the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”
Australian Sports Commission (ASC) Chair John Wylie said it was fantastic news for Australian sport.
“The ASC and the AIS have been working hard to assist our sport partners through these challenging times, so this news is a huge boost for the athletes returning to training who, despite the obstacles, remain resolutely focused on achieving their dreams and making our country proud at the pinnacle of world sport,” Wylie said.
AOC President John Coates AC also welcomed the funding.
“This is the certainty that our Olympic athletes and sports were looking for as they pick up the pandemic pieces and resume training for the Tokyo Games next year,” Coates said.
Paralympics Australia President Jock O’Callaghan said: “We are grateful for the Federal Government’s ongoing commitment to high performance sport which has been underlined by this important announcement today.
“This new investment will enable our aspiring Paralympians to continue their preparations for Tokyo, Beijing and Birmingham with confidence and assurance.”
Minister Colbeck said the measure ensures core funding for our athletes and coaches is maintained at record levels and builds on the Morrison Government’s recent investments to support athlete wellbeing and pathways for young aspiring Olympians and Paralympians.
“The Australian Institute of Sport will distribute the high performance grants to our national sporting organisations who will identify, train and develop their most promising athletes,” Minister Colbeck said.
“The Government is aware many national sporting organisations have had to stand down staff and reduce their hours because of COVID-19.
“Without this investment to high performance funding, there is a significant risk our best coaches and high performance support staff will face an uncertain future.”
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 Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will take place from 28 July to 8 August.