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Athletics ‘cannot compete’ with professional sport
Athletics Australia President Rob Fildes says the claim in the Crawford Report that Olympic success does not equate to increased participation at the grassroots level is a fallacy.
Fildes also backed the assertion by Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates that any cut in funding would cut into Australia's athletics medal haul at the top level.
Fildes says track and field is inundated with new members on the back of standout performances such as Steve Hooker's pole vault gold medals at the Beijing Olympics and Berlin world championships.
The same scenario occurs in swimming, cycling and gymnastics.
Athletics was a notable omission from the sports listed in the report into future funding by David Crawford as being central to the Australian psyche, leading Fildes to state that "we are concerned that athletics as a large participation sport is often overlooked in favour of the professional sports with their large gate receipts, sponsorship and broadcast rights.
"We simply cannot compete on a financial basis with the professional sports in Australia, yet we are the original Olympic sport - in fact, most would argue the original sport full stop."
Fildes backed the call by Coates for an increase in funding for Olympic sports, stating "everywhere we turn in the running and organisation of our sport we are unable to carry out our objectives and initiatives to the extent we would like because we simply cannot afford to.
"There is no doubt in our minds that the failure to adequately fund Olympic sports will see a decline in medals achieved at future Olympic Games, world championships, Paralympic Games and Commonwealth Games."
18th November 2009 - MIXED RECEPTION FOR CRAWFORD REPORT
17th November 2009 - CRAWFORD: PARTICIPATION, NOT MEDALS, SHOULD BE AUSTRALIA’S SPORTING GOAL
28th October 2009 - COATES DEMANDS FEDERAL MONEY FOR SPORT
12th May 2008 - LABOR CHARTS NEW DIRECTION FOR AUSTRALIAN SPORT
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