The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has boosted funding for
elite athletes training for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing to
more than $5 million.
Athletes who win a gold medal at a world championship or other
major international event of comparable standard in either 2006 or
2007 will receive $15,000.
Silver medallists will get $10,000, bronze medallists $7,500 and
in a new move those finishing fourth will receive $5,000.
"In order to remain competitive in Beijing and beyond we need to
ensure appropriate incentives are in place for our best athletes"
AOC President John Coates said in a statement.
"We felt it necessary to include fourth placed athletes as we
know from past experience that many of our Olympic medallists will
come from this pool of athletes".
"And members of teams will continue to receive the same funding
as individuals", Coates said.
The latest benchmark study conducted by the AOC indicates
Australia would finish fifth on the overall medal tally if the
Olympic Games had been held this year.
The figures show Australian athletes winning 40 medals, 15 gold,
13 silver and 12 bronze, a sharp fall from 2005 when they won 50
and the 2004 Olympics in Athens, when Australia was fourth with 49
"It is essential we reverse the trend in 2007 and the increased
funding is paramount to our success in Beijing," Coates
(Reuters November 22, 2006)