Paddon likely to continue to miss funding

Last updated 05:00 21/12/2012

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The commercial nature of motorsport means Geraldine rally driver Hayden Paddon is unlikely to receive investment from Sport New Zealand any time soon.

A Sport New Zealand spokesperson said that although Paddon competed in the World Rally Championship (WRC) in the Super World Rally Championship category, the 25-year-old would always struggle to receive funding because professional motorsport teams had a close association with businesses and sponsorship dollars.

Although any financial contribution is likely to be minimal, given Paddon will need more than $1 million to fund another campaign in 2013, the spokesperson said the option of funding an athlete in motorsport in the future was "not off the table completely".

It is understood motorsport did not put forward its case for a cash injection at the high-performance level and therefore did not feature in the funding strategy, which was released on Tuesday.

Sport NZ's focus in high performance was on Olympic medals at summer, winter and Paralympic level, as well as those athletes who could win world championships while representing New Zealand.

Paddon has managed a couple of top-10 placings in individual WRC rallies in the past but in the eyes of Sport NZ, he is not just racing for New Zealand but private companies that sponsor him, and car manufacturers as well.

Kiwi surfer Paige Hareb was the only individual athlete competing in a non-Olympic sport who was awarded funding.

The 22-year-old has had a world ranking inside the top 10 for the past four years and received $20,000 because she is seen as a legitimate world title contender in the years to come.

She had relied on public handouts and private backing to cover costs.

The Sport NZ spokesperson said motorsport's top level was difficult to define and it made injecting money into the likes of Paddon, IndyCar driver Scott Dixon or emerging talents such as Brendon Hartley "extremely difficult" because there were so many world championships in the one sport.

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- The Timaru Herald

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