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AIS provide pathway funding boost to Rowing Australia

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) today announced its continued support, over the next two years, to help sports identify and develop Australia’s talented athletes of the future.

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are the immediate focus for 2021, but the AIS has maintained its strong 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.

Rowing Australia (RA) has been fortunate to secure funding from the AIS’s Performance Pathway Solutions Grants and its Pathway Workforce Grants.

The U23 Men’s Eight (Copyright RA)

The Performance Pathway Solution grants are an initiative that helps sports implement strategies that develop emerging talents. Funding was awarded to RA to support the organisation’s US Program, an initiative seeking to strengthen engagement with those Australian athletes based in rowing programs in the US College system. This program helps to ensure Australia’s athlete pathway extends to include US-based athletes and provides them with opportunities to participate in Under 23 selection activities and ultimately assist in their transition back into the Australian high-performance environment.

In addition to this, RA was once again successful in receiving funding from the AIS Pathways Workforce Grant. The RA Pathways Transition Manager was a newly created role in February of this year, funded by the AIS’ Pathways Performance Workforce Grant, with the role now secured for RA for a further two years. The role, currently held by John Bowes, primarily focuses on the transition of athletes from school to club and US-based athlete engagement to support our national pathway strategy.

RA Deputy Performance Director, Jaime Fernandez said, “We are extremely grateful to the AIS, and in turn the Australian Government, for their ongoing support and investment in Australia’s athlete pathway.

“It provides us with certainty as we help develop Australia’s future Olympic rowers for the world stage.”

AIS CEO Peter Conde said 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.

“Pathways support is critical to the future of Australian sport, helping the AIS and sports to discover and develop our champions of the future,” Conde said. “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 and Los Angeles in 2028.

“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.

“We thank the Australian Government for the funding that makes these sporting dreams possible for our next generation of athletes coming through.”

The total $35.3million in direct funding to National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) comprises:

  • $21.6million in Performance Pathways Solutions grants, an initiative that helps sports implement strategies that develop their emerging athletes, and:
  • $13.7m 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.