Paralympic boat class rowers to receive same funding as National Training Centre athletes
Australia’s para-rowers have this week received a boost with the knowledge that they are now eligible to receive performance based funding to the same level as their able-bodied counterparts.
Rowing becomes one of a few Olympic and Paralympic sports to support its para-sport stars the same as its able-bodied athletes. Rowing Australia Performance Director, Bernard Savage said: “Rowing Australia provides financial assistance of $500 per week to support its able-bodied athletes relocating to the two full-time NTCs.
“Whilst our para-rowers are not required to relocate full-time, we recognise that are still significant challenges relating to pursuing their sporting goals. RA is proud to implement this High Performance Preparation Support program, which will provide eligible Para-rowing athletes on-going weekly payments of $500. This support would not have been possible without the support of our Principal Partner, Hancock Prospecting.”
Five-time World Champion, Erik Horrie added: “It’s massive for us to now receive equal funding. It’s a major thing for me, to have that security, knowing that I’m still being paid when we’re overseas competing or travelling for competition. It’s actually a mental relief for me as I don’t have to worry as much about finances now – it makes combining training, living, travelling and also planning a lot easier.”
Horrie believe it will make the sport more attractive to many looking to perform at the highest level.
“I think this type of funding being available will definitely make para-rowing more attractive to people. It is by no means an easy sport, but this shows people that if you do the work and get the performances that brings reward.
“It’s a performance based payment across multiple classes which is great for those aiming for Paralympic qualification, so if you medal in those boat classes you get the same support as your able-bodied team-mates,” said the two-time Paralympic silver medallist.
“RA has really stepped up and recognised it’s para athletes as the same as its able-bodied ones. We sacrifice and train as hard and should be and are going to be rewarded the same as our team-mates. To have this funding from RA alongside my dAIS funding from the AIS, plus the holistic support I receive from NSWIS and Sydney Rowing Club, it is just fantastic,” concluded Horrie.
Rowing Australia Head Para-rowing Coach, Gordon Marcks added: “As a sport, we’re proud to have a fully integrated World Championships, with our para-rowers and able-bodied rowers competing as one team at the event. We’re committed to supporting our para-rowers to achieve their goals, and this is a great announcement for our para-athletes. For them to receive this type of funding will no doubt help them to focus on their training and competing at the highest level.”