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AIS maintains support for athlete development

AIS maintains support for athlete development
December 11, 2020

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has advised of its ongoing commitment to help sports identify and develop Australia’s talented athletes of the future, confirming $35million of funding to national sporting organisations over the next two years.

With the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics its immediate focus for 2021, the AIS has maintained its commitment to building long-term sustainable success by investing in jobs and strategies that support the country’s emerging talent across Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games sports.

Its $35.3million in direct funding to national sporting organisations (NSOs) comprises: $21.6 million in Performance Pathways Solutions grants, an initiative that helps sports implement strategies that develop their emerging athletes, and $13.7 million in Pathways Workforce Grants to 36 NSOs, funding the equivalent of more than 45 full-time positions over two years in areas such as pathway leadership, coaching, sport science and sports medicine support.

In 2020 alone, the AIS has allocated more than $10 million in Performance Pathways Solutions Grants for ongoing projects across 23 sports: archery; artistic swimming; athletics; baseball; basketball; golf; hockey; modern pentathlon; netball; paddle; para-table tennis; equestrian; rowing; rugby; sailing; shooting; skate; snow australia; softball; squash; surfing; swimming; and wheelchair rugby.

Explaining that high performance sports had identified supporting athlete pathways as their biggest challenge prior to COVID-19 and, despite this year’s disruptions to sport, it remained a priority,

AIS Chief Executive, Peter Conde advised “pathways support is critical to the future of Australian sport, helping the AIS and sports to discover and develop our champions of the future.

“In some sports, it can take eight to 12 years to identify and develop a talented young athlete with potential through to them being a contender for medals at major international events. It requires long-term planning, commitment and investment.

“Even with an immediate focus on Tokyo next year, we need to be thinking about the Olympic and Paralympic athletes who will be coming through to represent Australia at Paris in 2024, Milano/Cortina in 2026 and Los Angeles in 2028, as well as the Commonwealth Games in 2026.

“It was important to begin by investing in the pathway workforce that will guide system and athlete development. Now we’re working with sports to initiate programs through our Performance Pathways Solutions Grants that will help progress these high potential athletes to become the very best they can be.

“The projects come in all different shapes and sizes, involving talent identification, enhancing training environments, providing competition opportunities and coach development. We have invested over a million dollars in sports such as swimming and athletics, focussing on such things as athlete data collection and resultant initiatives to minimise injury to young athletes. We’ve also invested in new Olympic sports such as skate and surfing as well as smaller sports like shooting and modern pentathlon, which both produced gold medallists at the last Olympics in Rio 2016.

The Australian women’s softball team, the Spirit, is one sport program already planning for the future and benefitting from AIS pathways support.

Australian softball has claimed a medal in every Olympics it has contested and the Spirit is aiming to challenge for an historic gold medal when the sport returns to Olympic competition for the first time in 13 years, in Tokyo 2021.

The Australian Olympic squad is in camp at the AIS and the sport is not included for Paris in 2024, but Softball Australia is already planning for the 2028 Los Angeles Games with the support of the AIS.

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