Rowers back AIS funds for Rio medals

Rowing Australia believe additional funds from the Australian Institute of Sport will result in medals for the nation at the 2016 Olympics.


The AIS is pumping millions of dollars of additional funds into various Olympic sports in a bid to boost Australia’s medal tally at the Rio Games and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Rowing will receive an additional $200,000 under the Winning Edge scheme, lifting its annual funding to $7,400,000 – the third highest amount for a single sport behind swimming ($8,415,000) and sailing ($7,550,000).

Australia’s sailing team’s impressive efforts at the 2010 London Olympics has given them the biggest overall boost of $1,250,000 while canoe/kayak ($500,000), taekwondo ($300,000), water polo ($275,000) and swimming ($200,000) also received significant increases.

The aim is to target AIS funds at those sports likely to deliver medals in 2016 and Rowing Australia says it’s a sensible course of action.

“The leadership shown by the AIS under Australia’s Winning Edge enhances our ability to deliver multi-medal outcomes in both the Rio and Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games,” RA national performance director Chris O’Brien said.

“The increase in funding from the AIS will assist us in achieving our vision of building the best rowing team in the world.”

Australia currently has four rowing world champions in its ranks in Kimberley Crow and paralympic athletes Erik Horrie, Kathryn Ross and Gavin Bellis.

The AIS focus means non-Olympic sports such as rugby league, cricket and surf lifesaving have had their funding allocations cut.

Athletics has also had its budget cut by $50,000 but will still receive $6,520,000 in the next financial year.

But it appears there’s little love for those chasing glory for Australia in tennis at Rio, with the sport’s allocation of $400,000 in the past financial year completely wiped from the 2014-15 funding budget.

Australian Sports Commission chief executive Simon Hollingsworth said tennis is among those sports which are largely self-sufficient when it comes to funds and the money could be better utilised in other areas.

“Sports like AFL, cricket, rugby league, and tennis are iconic sports for Australia,” Hollingsworth said.

“Given these sports generate large amounts of broadcast revenue, the AIS considers it unnecessary to invest directly in their high performance outcomes.

“Alternative partnerships with these sports and the AIS will be pursued.”