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SPARC sets sights on winning ways

Monday 11 April 2005

SPARC sets sights on winning ways

Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) is to take a new approach to investing in high performance sport in light of the findings of the Athens Report which was released today.

The Report assesses the New Zealand Olympic team’s performance at last year’s Olympic Games. While it shows that Athens brought New Zealand success, it also makes recommendations designed to improve our performance in Beijing in 2008.

“If we want to leapfrog countries which finished above us on the medal table we need to target sports with multiple medal potential, identify and chase ‘achievable medals,’ invest heavily in high performance programmes and provide funding security to our best athletes and coaches,” said SPARC Chief Executive Nick Hill.

“New Zealand doesn’t have the luxury of endless resources enjoyed by major sporting nations. To be competitive on the world stage, we need to out-smart them, rather than out-spend them,” he said.

Key elements of SPARC’s approach includes targeting investment towards sports with the greatest potential to deliver medals and measuring the organisational and performance capability of other sports with medal potential.

Other aspects of SPARC’s new approach include maintenance of long-term investment as opposed to short-term funding and benchmarking of elite athlete performance as a guide to investment decisions.

Going forward, the concept of ‘sharing risk’ will be introduced. National Sports Organisations will receive an agreed level of investment, and on top of that will be eligible to receive additional incentivised investment based on reaching agreed milestones.

Performance Enhancement Grants (PEGs) have also been added to the New Zealand Academy of Sport’s (NZAS) suite of assistance for athletes. PEGs will alleviate the pressure on athletes to raise funds and therefore enable them to focus on their training.

Leading up to the Athens Olympics, the NZAS directly invested over $15m in the high performance programmes of the Olympic sports. An additional $2m of sport science, sport medicine, Athlete Career and Education Programme (ACE) and support services was provided to athletes and coaches in Olympic sports, and a further $2m was awarded to athletes and coaches in personal grants.

A total of $19 million was therefore invested in supporting Olympic sports in the 24-month period leading up to the Games.

The new approach to investment is designed to augment the success enjoyed by New Zealand in the Athens Olympics which included winning five medals (three gold, two silver). By comparison New Zealand secured four medals (one gold, no silver, three bronze) in Sydney

“Athens provided a terrific return on investment for New Zealand. Now it is time to set our sights on more success, initially at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne next year, and then in Beijing in 2008,” said Nick Hill.

“To achieve that, we need to ensure our sports organisations can manage effective programmes, ensure we know exactly where we stand in relation to our competition, identify in which sports medals are winnable and invest in them.

“No sport has a right to investment. New Zealanders want to see winners, and winning is fundamental to breeding champions. SPARC will play a highly active role in identifying and fostering them in time for the next Olympics in 2008,” said Nick Hill.

The Report is online at: http://www.sparc.org.nz/news/pdfs/Athens_Report.pdf

******************

Highlights from Athens

At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, New Zealand:

won five medals (three gold, two silver) in Athens. By comparison New Zealand secured four medals (one gold, no silver, three bronze) in Sydney

was awarded Olympic Diplomas (fourth to eight finish) in 20 events involving 72 athletes from nine sports in Athens. By comparison, Diplomas were awarded in 13 events involving 54 athletes from six sports in Sydney

finished 24th on the medal table based on Gold medals and 37th based on total medals in Athens. New Zealand finished 45th on the medal table based on Gold medal results and 46th based on total medals in Sydney

achieved a medal haul from Athens that would have secured 26th place on the Sydney medal table, conversely New Zealand’s medal haul from Sydney would have secured 51st place on the Athens medal table

75 out of 202 (37 per cent) of the participating countries won medals in Athens. 80 out of 198 (40 per cent) of the participating countries won medals in Sydney.

ENDS


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