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Volume 6 No. 212


London Mayor Boris Johnson announced Wednesday morning that the Olympic Stadium will host the 2017 IPC Athletics World Championships, according to Josh Burrows of the LONDON TIMES. The "second biggest event" in the Paralympic calendar will take place over nine days in July, a little more than a month before London hosts the IAAF World Athletics Championships. Johnson, who is also the London Legacy Development Corp. chairman said, "This year London just staged the best spectacle of sport the world has seen. By bringing the IPC Athletics World Championships to our wonderful Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park just a month before the World Athletics Championships, the capital is poised to recreate the magic of 2012" (LONDON TIMES, 12/19). REUTERS' Martyn Herman reported this year's Paralympics athletics events attracted sell-out 80,000 crowds with the performances of British 100m runner Jonnie Peacock and wheelchair racer David Weir providing "some of the most memorable moments of the Games." Int'l Paralympic Committee CEO Xavier Gonzalez said that London had helped raise the bar for Paralympic athletics. Gonzalez said, "We cannot wait to see Great Britain embrace the Paralympic Movement once again with open arms" (REUTERS, 12/19). In London, Ashling O'Connor wrote the city "was rewarded for hosting the greatest Paralympics ever." The decision to approve the bid over a proposal from Doha, Qatar, "will make London the first city to host the two championships concurrently." Paralympians Aled Davies, the Paralympic discus champion, reacted enthusiastically. Davies tweeted: “Yes! We get to do it all again” (LONDON TIMES, 12/20).

MORE PARALYMPICS: XINHUA reported the First Far Eastern paralympic sports festival "opened in Khabarovsk on Tuesday." Athletes from four regions of the Russia's Far East were present. About 100 athletes came to the festival "from the Khabarovsk and Primorsky Krai, the Amur Region and the Jewish Autonomous Region" (XINHUA, 12/18).

Australia's national sports federations are "facing a brave new world as the reality of a restructured government funding program" for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics has begun "to hit home," according to Nicole Jeffery of THE AUSTRALIAN. Australian Institute of Sport Dir Matt Favier, who returned this year after working in the British system for a decade, confirmed that there would be "winners and losers under the new funding model, just as there were in the U.K. funding announcement" Wednesday. Favier said, "I think the principles of the approach the British have taken, in looking for a genuine return on their investment, are in line with our approach, although the landscape is slightly different." One difference is that Australia will have only about two-thirds of the funding available to Britain. Australian swimming officials may be "nervous, given the national team's medal tally in London was half it had been for years earlier in Beijing." However, Favier said that the "Australian approach would be directed toward potential, backed by solid evidence, not just the recent past" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 12/20).

INDIVIDUAL FUNDING: In Wellington, New Zealand, Simon Plumb reported "fundamental change hit New Zealand sport" on Tuesday, "with the Crown embracing both athlete-specific and non-Olympic funding into its key investment document." The most recent four-year funding announcement for elite New Zealand sports "has seen six individuals identified as public funding recipients beside big-player national organisations such as Olympic cornerstones Rowing New Zealand and Yachting New Zealand." World No. 1 amateur golfer Lydia Ko, who this year became the youngest winner of a professional Tour event, "has helped smash the mould in being guaranteed NZ$230,000 ($192,000) in public funding split over the next two years." The only individual from a non-Olympic sport to receive funding is a top surfer, Paige Hareb -- "and while it is considerably less than Ko financially, Hareb's non-Olympic status means philosophically, it's far more significant." High Performance Sport NZ CEO Alex Baumann said that he was "pleased to be able to help proven, individual athletes." Baumann said, "It's important, but we have to take these on a case by case basis" (DOMINION POST, 12/19).

A WOMAN'S WORLD: The APNZ reported the New Zealand national women's football team, the Football Ferns, "will benefit from a NZ$1.6M ($1.3M) cash injection over the next two years. HPSNZ congratulated New Zealand Football on its "improved performance across the recently completed cycle and performance" at the London Olympics, with funding of NZ$800,000 ($670,000) per year for next year and '14. The country's national men's basketball team, the Tall Blacks, "have missed out on funding from HPSNZ next year" (APNZ, 12/18).

With the IOC election nine months away, the campaign to succeed President Jacques Rogge is "forging ahead behind the scenes without fanfare, policy platforms, debates, or any declared candidates for that matter," according to Stephen Wilson of the AP. Rogge, who has led the organization since '01, will step down at the end of his term in September. Although no one yet has spoken openly about replacing him, the list of potential contenders is "an open secret in IOC circles." Heading the perspective field are Thomas Bach, Richard Carrion and Ng Ser Miang. All three were in Lausanne, Switzerland this month for IOC meetings, and they were "hard to miss." While Bach and Ng are VPs who sit on the ruling exec board, Carrion is no longer a board member and "must make an extra effort from outside the inner circle" (AP, 12/19).