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Funding boost for national team

  •  (Photo by Windward pub)
Funding boost for national team

The Australian Sports Commission’s announcement this week of changes to the funding of Australian sport will greatly benefit sailing.

The Australian Sailing Team’s results in the 2012 Olympic Games – of three gold medals and one silver medal – were the best the sport has seen. That result and a strong High Performance structure have contributed greatly to the ASC’s decision to boost sailing’s funding by $900k per annum for the 2013/14 year.

This 16.7 per cent increase is among the highest allocated across all sports and targeted events.

The immediate impact of this welcome funding announcement is to put the Australian Sailing Team in a position to meet more of the costs of preparing for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio.

Yachting Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Phil Jones explained there are several challenges ahead for Sailing. “The significant issue for us in the next four years is that it’s going to be a very expensive one. Whereas in the last four years we only had to go to Europe, which is bad enough in itself in terms of shipping boats and moving athletes, obviously in this four years we still have to go to Europe for the competition, but we also have to spend a fair bit of time in Rio as Rio is a difficult (sailing) venue.

“We also have some other costs around the new classes that we didn’t have previously.

“While we appreciate this increase, we are still some way short of budget for the next four years given the costs involved.”

The ASC’s Winning Edge Investment announcement seemingly focused on elite sport, however, Jones was quick to allay the fears of Sailing’s grassroots level that they had not been left out of this latest funding.

“The good thing about this announcement is that the Participation funding we have received for the last couple of years is being maintained for the next year. That is going to allow us to continue our efforts in Discover Sailing and in the Tackers program.

“We are beginning to see some take up of that from clubs and we are hoping to see a lot more of that in the next 12 months,” Jones said.

This weekend Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club hosts the Stratogen Sunshine Coast Inter-school Dinghy Regatta. The club’s Sailing Manager, Paul Blundell, is expecting up to 30 two-man teams representing nine local schools, racing Vagabonds in the two-day event.