Australia's sporting reputation at risk without increased investment: administrators

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-05 12:06:46|Editor: Xiang Bo
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CANBERRA, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Australia's leading sport administrators have called on the government to increase funding to save the nation's global sporting reputation, locals media reported Saturday.

John Wylie, chair of Sport Australia, and Matt Carroll, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), have warned that Australia's performance in international competitions will suffer greatly unless funding is boosted.

"At the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) we've had seven years of funding cuts ... when you look forward to 2022 the funding to the ASC will be down by about 25 percent in real terms," Wylie told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Friday night.

"This is an organization that forms a very important service to Australian sport."

The comments represent an attempt by the administrators to make sport funding ahead of 2019 general election, which is due to take place in May.

Wylie noted the government's one-off investment in the ASC to prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics but said that Australian athletes will be competing "against the odds."

"Our Australian sports stars are competing against better-funded competitors with better resources at their disposal," he said.

"They are not doing it for the money, they are doing it for individual and national glory and a sense of achievement ... we should celebrate that, support it, and continue to invest in it."

Australia's performance at the Olympics has been in steady decline since the Sydney games in 2000, winning only 29 medals at the 2016 games in Rio compared to 58 in Sydney in 2000.

Of the 2016 medals, only 27 percent were gold compared to 34 percent in 2004.

Carroll told the ABC that every dollar the government invests in sport pays a 400 percent dividend.

"Participation breeds the champions of the future but participation also provides great health outcomes," he said.

"For a lot of Olympic sports, which represents about eight and a half million participants across the country, very little investment is made.

"If you look at the size of the federal budget, what they invest in sport is quite small."