Aussie Swimmer Slams Sport Australia Funding Cuts
Australian Olympic Gold Medal-winning swimmer Cate Campbell "delivered a scathing attack" on a new funding model that has "plunged a number of sports into uncertainty" only 18 months until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, according to Georgina Robinson of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Sport Australia is "under increasing pressure to delay or ditch a contentious overhaul of its funding program" that will see some sports lose funding and others wait on performance-tied grants. Swimming will not be affected by the cuts but that "did not stop Campbell from mounting a passionate defence of aspiring Olympians across all sports." She said, "We're not asking [the government] to support the rich and the elite, because very, very few of our Olympic athletes get to be at that level. Very few of them get to earn enough so that when they retire they actually have savings in the bank. Most of them will retire with a few dollars. Those are the people who need support, because Australia supports our athletes in everything except the dollar aspect. That needs to change if we want sport in this country to continue" (SMH, 12/3).
'SAD DAY FOR SPORT': In Sydney, Julian Linden reported Campbell also "slammed" FINA for threatening to ban swimmers from competing at the 2020 Games if they join a new professional league offering prizemoney to competitors. Many of the world's best swimmers have signed up for the $2.1M Int'l Swimming League, which was due to start in Europe this month, "only to be warned" they would be blocked from representing their countries at the world championships and Olympics "if they take a dip in the golden pond." Australia is among several swimming countries that asked FINA to "endorse the new league" but FINA's "stubborn refusal and subsequent threats have infuriated swimmers the world over." Campbell said, "The world governing body is doing a disservice to the very people that they are supposed to advocate for and protect. It's a sad day for sport because we are taking away a great event and losing an opportunity to grow the sport" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 12/3).