The Tokyo 2020 aspirations of seven Paralympic sports have been given a timely and important boost today by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).

Paralympics Australia (PA) has commended today’s announcement that an additional $1.5million has been allocated by the AIS to high performance Para-programs for wheelchair rugby, archery, men’s wheelchair basketball, triathlon, shooting, boccia, and canoe.

Australia’s elite wheelchair rugby program, managed by Paralympics Australia, has been recognised for its enduring success as the Steelers attempt to create history by securing a gold medal at a third consecutive Paralympic Games.

The funding will be utilized by PA to implement additional athlete and staff support to bolster the Steelers’ Tokyo campaign in the COVID-19 environment.

Paralympics Australia President Jock O’Callaghan said this new contribution from the AIS will make a meaningful impact for the seven high performance programs that all have strong hopes of enhancing Australia’s proud Paralympic record next year.

“In this increasingly uncertain economic climate, PA is grateful for the critical support Paralympic Programs receive from the Federal Government, Sport Australia and the AIS which is enabling Paralympic athletes to keep pursuing their dreams of making Australia proud when they get their long-awaited chance again,” O’Callaghan said.

“While this recognizes the strong performances in recent years, it is also an investment in potential for the future that we know we need to fulfil.

“I would like acknowledge and thank Senator Richard Colbeck, the Federal Minister Sport, as well as Sport Australia led by Chairman John Wylie and Chief Executive Rob Dalton, as well as AIS Director Peter Conde.

“Today’s announcement is an encouraging endorsement from the AIS of the Australian Paralympic movement’s ability to deliver a return on this investment and it is a responsibility we, along with our NSO partners, never take for granted.”

The wheelchair rugby high performance program will receive $479,162 in additional funding, with additional Para-program grants also provided to Archery Australia ($298,970), Basketball Australia for its men’s wheelchair program ($200,000), Triathlon Australia ($182,868), Shooting Australia ($160,000), Boccia Australia ($113,706) and Paddle Australia ($65,294).

The investment follows last month’s confirmation from the Federal Government that $50.6 million had been secured for national sporting organisations to continue their preparations for Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022 and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, which have been significantly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chair of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) John Wylie said National Sporting Organisations need the best chance of achieving medal success come 2021 and this investment is critical to providing the platform to do so.

“Sports continue to feel the impact of COVID-19 however this funding will allow sports to plan with certainty and get ready for what I am sure will be an exciting and competitive Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Mr Wylie said.

“More than ever, Australians are turning to sport to lift spirits and I have no doubt our high-performance athletes will play a key role in our country’s recovery from this pandemic.”

“I would like to acknowledge the Federal Government and thank Minister for Sport Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck for his support of Australia’s high-performance athletes and system.”

AIS CEO, Peter Conde said in order to work towards the AIS goal of multiple medallists over multiple Games cycles, sports require certainty to compete at the highest levels.

“It is through investments like this, along with additional support the AIS provides through wellbeing, workforce support and technology and innovation, that we see high performance sport inspiring both future competitors and the wider Australian community.

By Tim Mannion
Posted: 15 July 2020