Rowing, yachting, cycling get priority funding

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 17:32 18/12/2012
Bond and Murray
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Champion rowers: Hamish Bond, left, and Eric Murray, after winning gold at the Olympics.

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Rowing, yachting and cycling will take priority for government sport funding over the next four years.

But the likes of swimming, men's hockey and triathlon have been down-graded and now face a critically important 12-month period to prove they deserve more.

Today, High Performance Sport New Zealand released the Crown's sporting investment plan for 2013-2016, revealing which sports have won, and which have lost, in the race for a slice of $62 million in public funding towards the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Predictably, sports which helped New Zealand achieve arguably its best-ever Olympic campaign at London 2012 have been smiled upon.

Medal-winning sports of rowing, yachting, cycling, athletics, equestrian and canoeing have all seen their elite funding budgets increase on the last four years.

Off the back of team eventing bronze at London 2012 equestrian is the major mover, set to receive $7.6m to 2016 (compared with $3.2m between 2009-2012), while rowing will remain New Zealand's best-funded sport ($18.4m), followed by cycling ($15.6m), yachting ($11.2m).

Athletics is up just under a million dollars to $7.6m while Lisa Carrington's gold medal performance has seen flatwater canoeing rise almost $1.5m to $4.8m.

While they didn't win a medal, finishing fourth in London, the women's Black Sticks' funding has also increased over the next four years, boosted by over $2m to $5.2m. Coach Mark Hager has transformed them from 12th in the world rankings to third since taking the reins four years ago.

There were few shocks on the losing side of the coin either, with swimming down-graded from a specifically targeted Olympic sport to now being a "campaign based" sport.

In other words, in being guaranteed $1.4m for 2013 swimming has lost $250,000 and importance now goes on the world championships for long-term funding.

The result mean's top swimmer Lauren Boyle, who won gold and bronze from the world short course championships over the last week, has some security.

Men's hockey has been dealt a tough blow too and will only receive $800,000 next year following a poor Games. Over the last four-year cycle the men's Black Sticks received $3.1m.

Triathlon also faces a fight back, down to $5.6m over the full Olympic cycle from $6.1m.

Now part of the Olympic programme, the men's rugby sevens teams has been guaranteed $4.8m to Rio while the women team face reassessment after their guaranteed $800,000 for next year. 

Bolted on to sport-specific budgets New Zealand's winter Olympic programme has also been significantly boosted by $1.6m to $6.8m to 2016 and the Paralympic programme rises by $1.8m to $5.9m.

Non-Olympic sports also did well today with netball's funding going up $600,000 to $4.8m to 2016.

And for the first time, specific New Zealand athletes are to be given funding based on their personal, not overall sport's, performances.

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Those include prodigious golfer Lydia Ko with the 15-year-old now guaranteed $230,000 over the next two years, Olympic canoe slalom duo Luuka Jones and Mike Dawson $135,00 for 2013 while also next year boxer Alexis Pritchard and Taekwondo exponent Vaughan Scott receive $90,000 and $17,000 respectively.

World top 10 surfer Paige Hareb will still have to rely on public donations, but will receive $20,000 towards next year's costs.

Alex Baumann, chief executive of HPSNZ, says some tough decisions have been made and not a single sport got exactly what they wanted.

"New Zealand doesn't have the resources that other larger nations have, but we are confident that by continuing the targeted investment approach that's been in place since 2006, we can continue to deliver the results New Zealanders want to see," Baumann said.

"New Zealand's next medal and world championship winners will come from the sports we are investing in today."

The investments reflect HPSNZ goals of 14 Olympic medals in 2016 and 16 or more in 2020.

- Stuff

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