Australia, New Zealand Mimic U.K. With Major Olympic Funding Increase
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).