AOC boss warns on sports funding - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AOC boss warns on sports funding

By Sharon Labi 29/08/2004 11:41:19 PM Comments (0)

Major political parties have been told they won't be forgiven if they fail to provide enough funding for Australia to maintain its place in world sport.

The warning came as Prime Minister John Howard called an October 9 election just hours before the close of an Olympics at which Australia produced its greatest Games performance.

With 17 golds, 16 silvers and 16 bronze, Australia achieved its goal of a top five finish on the overall medal table. Australia was fourth behind the US, China and Russia.

Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates said he expected whichever party was elected to office would be mindful of the need for Australia to perform strongly at the Beijing Games in 2008.

"I would also expect that when the Australian government considers future funding for our Olympic sports, it will be cognisant of the importance for Australia to perform well in China as our future - politically, financially and culturally - becomes increasingly tied to China and East Asia," Coates said.

He expected both parties to be mindful of the way sport shapes the national identity.

"As for Australian government funding generally, I don't think I need to remind the two major political parties as they head into an election of the importance of sport to our country," Coates said.

"I sense the public will not forgive them if they do not provide sufficient funding for Australia to maintain its current place in world sport.

"I'm sure that the politicians are aware of the important role that this Australian team, like other great teams before, have played in reinforcing our sense of national identity."

Coates said he did not expect funding to be cut from sports like sailing or equestrian which failed to win a single medal in Athens.

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