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2021 Tokyo Olympics to symbolise pandemic end, despite billion-dollar postponement costs


Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says he will “spare no effort” to ensure a safe and secure Tokyo Olympic Games to show the world that humanity has defeated the COVID-19 pandemic.

His comments come as organisers revealed postponing the Games until next year would cost the Japanese economy an additional 294 billion yen ($3.8 billion).

“I expressed my strong determination to host the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of next year as proof that humanity has defeated the pandemic,” Mr Suga said during a video speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday.

Organisers have been assessing the financial impact of the delay since the Japanese Government and International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided in March to postpone the Games until 2021.

The IOC has previously said it will contribute $874 million towards covering postponement costs.

This was in addition to the costs announced by Japanese organisers.

“Tokyo’s costs are Tokyo’s costs,” Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said.

“Tokyo 2020’s [allocation] is revenue that we can secure.

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“Within this revenue we have additional sponsorship that we have requested from partners and we also have insurance.”

Tokyo 2020 is also falling back on a contingency fund of $350 million, which was detailed in last year’s budget to cover costs.

The last official budget given by the organising committee in December 2019, months before the Games were postponed, was $16.9 billion.

Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori added that the IOC had agreed to waive any additional royalties accrued by new sponsorship deals secured by the organising committee.

Man with grey hair stands in profile in front of a microphone wearing a red mask.
Mr Mori has arranged a way to earn more from sponsorships as organisers reveal the extent of economic hit caused by delaying the Games.(AP: Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool)

“I had a video conference last night with IOC President Bach,” Mr Mori said.

“President Bach expressed his strong determination that the IOC and us should work as one team and cooperate to ensure the success of the Games.”

The Tokyo Olympic Games are to set open on July 23, followed by the Paralympic Games on August 24.

ABC/AP



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Tokyo Olympics can save lives, become a symbol of resilience after COVID-19, says IOC chief Thomas Bach


Officials in Victoria cannot reach agreement to let around 1,000 players, officials and support staff into the state for a January Australian Open start.

But, a world away, the G20 Leaders’ Summit closed with a message of support for the Tokyo Olympic Games, where it’s expected tens of thousands of people will gather next July.

The final declaration of the G20 Summit named the host cities of the next two Olympics as symbols of the world’s resilience in fighting the pandemic.

“As a symbol of humanity’s resilience and global unity in overcoming COVID-19, we commend Japan’s determination to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 next year,” the G20 Leaders joint statement read.

“We look forward to the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022,” it added.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach addressed the summit, invited by Saudi officials who are believed to be strengthening ties with the IOC ahead of a possible Olympic bid.

Bach said in his address that the Olympics “save lives”.

“During this coronavirus crisis, we all have seen how important sport is for physical and mental health,” he said.

“The World Health Organization has acknowledged this by signing a cooperation agreement with the IOC.

“Following this agreement, the UN, the WHO and the IOC launched a co-branded campaign called ‘Healthy Together’, rolling out projects internationally.”

Bach also said the IOC would play a role in a global pro-vaccination campaign.

“We have learned one important lesson from this crisis: we need more solidarity, more solidarity within societies and more solidarity among societies,” he said.

“These Olympic Games, with the participation of all 206 National Olympic Committees and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team, will send a strong message of solidarity, resilience and unity of humankind in all our diversity.”

A ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ or ‘a gamble’?

A view across a harbour in Tokyo, past blossom trees, with the Olympic rings in the distance.
The Tokyo Olympics were delayed by 12 months.(Reuters/USA TODAY Sports: Yukihito Taguchi)

During last week’s visit to Tokyo to inspect facilities and review the current contingency plans, Bach described the Games as a “light at the end of the tunnel”.

But the Japan Times newspaper has described the determination to push ahead with the Games amid so much uncertainty around the pandemic and access to a vaccine as “a gamble”.

Kenneth McElwain, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Social Sciences, told the paper that weighing the benefits of hosting the Games against the cost of cancelling them was a difficult prospect.



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Brian Goorjian announced to lead Boomers to Tokyo Olympics


Brian Goorjian has been announced as the man to lead the Australian men’s basketball team at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

The current coach of The Hawks in the National Basketball League (NBL) led the Boomers from 2001 to 2008, overseeing the team’s campaigns at the Athens and Beijing Olympics.

He recently moved back to Australia from China to coach the Wollongong-based NBL side, and takes over the national team from NBA coach Brett Brown, who recently announced his resignation without coaching a single game.

Goorjian said the potentially NBA-player-stacked Boomers team was ready to win a medal.

“There’s that small window a lot of times in sport where there’s an opportunity to do something great, and Andre [Lemanis, former Boomers coach] and Basketball Australia did a tremendous job to get this team to where it sits now,” he said.

“It’s a short window of nine months [until the Olympics], but it’s a very talented team, and one we’re all proud of.”

Brian Goorjian watches on as AJ Ogilvy shapes to shoot a basketball at Hawks training.
Brian Goorjian said working as a current NBL coach was crucial for him to accept the Boomers job.(ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale)

Goorjian was the favourite to take over the national team given his prior experience in the job, along with his record as the most successful NBL coach of all time.

The Californian native played in the NBL, before forging a coaching career in the league that saw him win six championships between 1988 and 2009.

Basketball Australia general manager of high performance Jan Stirling said Goorjian beat a number of highly qualified Australian coaches for the role.

“We’re really excited by this appointment and in our country, we had a lot of high quality applicants, but Brian is a standout, not only for his domestic and international success, but also because he’s been on the Olympic stage with the Boomers.”

a male basketballer player jumps high to put ball in basket
Australians will be hoping Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons is available for selection at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. (AP: Winslow Townson)

NBA player availability will not affect medal chances

There is added interest in the Boomers’ Olympic campaign this time because Australia will field a side stacked with NBA talent, including 2016 number one draft pick Ben Simmons and league veterans Patty Mills, Joe Ingles and Aaron Baynes.

However, if the 2020/21 NBA season is not finished in time for the Tokyo Olympics, it is likely those players will be unavailable.

Brian Goorjian said the depth of basketball talent in Australia meant the country was in a strong position to medal regardless of who was playing.

“If not and if it goes another direction, what the NBL and the domestic competition has done is incredible.

“We promote ourselves as being one of the best competitions in the world, so whatever way this thing swings, I feel good about our chances.”



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Australia shouldn’t ‘shy away’ from boycotting Beijing Winter Olympics after China trade sanctions


The founder of a global coalition of politicians pushing for Beijing to be stripped of the Winter Olympics says Australia shouldn’t “shy away” from boycotting the games out of fear of further upsetting China.

British MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith told 7.30 China’s “appalling” treatment of Australia is even more reason for the Federal Government to take a stance against Beijing being the 2022 host.

“What Australia has gone through is appalling,” he said, referring to China’s recent trade sanctions.

“But then you have to ask yourself the question — if countries shy away now because of that treatment, then who has won this process?

The co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China is calling on governments around the world to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics as punishment for China’s human rights abuses which he said included the detention of Uyghurs in “re-education” camps and its crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

“We’re dealing with a government of intolerance, dictatorial, brooks no dissent, arrests people at a drop of a hat,” he said.

“I think there’s a very strong case to be made that China should not be rewarded for its astonishingly bad behaviour.”

China ‘unsafe’ for Australian athletes

A man in a blue shirt smiling.
David Morris rejects claims the Beijing event will be dangerous for athletes.(ABC News: Chris Gillette)

Crossbench senator Rex Patrick told 7.30 he supported a boycott of the games not only because of China’s human rights record but also over safety fears for athletes who attend.

“It’s unsafe for Australians to go to China,” Mr Patrick said.

“I can’t see a change occurring any time soon and indeed people need to consider that in the context of a decision to send athletes to China for the Beijing Olympics.”

But three-time Winter Olympian and coach of Australia’s aerial ski team David Morris said it wouldn’t be the first time athletes have competed amid safety concerns, citing the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.

“If I think back to Sochi there were also some issues with security around that but at no point did any athletes feel any danger,” Morris told 7.30.

“The Olympics are a safe environment, they do everything they can and if that changes closer to an event we will of course listen to the sporting committees to advise us on the right decisions because that’s their job to make that sort of call.”

Boycott pressure ‘unfair’ on athletes

A woman holds a pair of skiis over her shoulder
Olympic skier turned politician Zali Steggall has sided with the Australian Olympic Committee against the boycott.(AAP: Alan Porritt)

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) strongly opposes a boycott.

Chief executive officer Matt Carroll told 7.30 politics should be kept out of sport.

Winter Olympian turned independent MP Zali Steggall has sided firmly with the AOC and athletes in the debate.

“I don’t support the calls some of my colleagues have made for the Australian team to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympic Games,” Ms Steggall told 7.30.

“I think that’s unfairly putting pressure on athletes for something the Government actually needs to show leadership on.”

Sir Iain told 7.30 he could understand why the Australian Government might be reluctant to further ignite tensions with China.

He said other governments, including his own, could do more to support Australia over China’s trade sanctions.

“We are the guilty parties in this in failing to stand with Australia,” he said.



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Tokyo Olympics faces problems over achieving a fair qualification system for athletes, says IOC


The coronavirus pandemic has made achieving fair athlete qualification for the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games extremely difficult, International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) president Thomas Bach says.

At a news conference following the IOC’s monthly executive board meeting, Bach said 57 per cent of places have already been allocated, but that there were still many athletes around the world hoping to qualify for the remaining 43 per cent.

“For the remaining 43 per cent we still have to ensure a fair qualification system,” he said.

This is becoming more difficult for many sports, with the COVID-19 pandemic out of control in numerous countries and severe travel restrictions in many others.

Overnight, the World Wrestling Championships scheduled to take place in Serbia next month was cancelled.

Governing body, United World Wrestling (UWW), had set a target of at least eight of the top ten nations from last year’s event plus 70 per cent of athletes required to attend for the event to go ahead.

Those numbers could not be guaranteed.

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“The problem that the international federations are facing, and with them we are facing, that at this moment you would hardly find a place on this planet where you would have access for all the athletes from all the countries who want to participate,” Bach said.

“The international federations are looking very much into next spring (Australia’s autumn), [and] there are also different scenarios under consideration whether some of the so-called ‘world qualifications’ will have to be turned into more continental or regional qualifications.

“Or even in one of the other sports or disciplines the world ranking or other rankings must be used to have, and ensure, a fair qualification system — this has to happen from federation to federation.

“I can only tell you that all the international federations are working very hard on this and that they are really fully committed to ensure a fair qualification system for all their athletes.”

The IOC has not set a target for the number of nations or athletes who must attend but remain confident most of the 206 National Olympic Committees will send teams to Tokyo.

Thomas Bach gesturing while giving a speech.
IOC chief Thomas Bach says Olympic officials respect athletes’ decisions on whether to participate during the COVID-19 pandemic.(Reuters: Denis Balibouse, file photo)

“Our clear commitment is to make the participation possible for all the 206 National Olympic Committees and the IOC Refugee Team,” Bach said.

“If one athlete or the other does not want to participate for any reason, this is the individual decision of any athlete. We are respecting the athletes are free and must be free in their decisions.

“Given the very recent developments with regard to rapid testing and the vaccination, we are very confident we can offer a safe environment for all the athletes from all the National Olympic Committees and the IOC Refugee team.”

A one-day gymnastics event in Tokyo over the past weekend — featuring teams from Russia, China, the USA, as well as the host nation — provided a glimpse of hope as Olympic organisers prepare for a slow build towards next year’s Games.

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The pandemic has created financial issues for many National Olympic Committees.

The IOC has announced expansion of its Olympic Solidarity Fund by 16 per cent overall, and an increase of 25 five per cent for direct athlete support programs, taking the total to US$590 million ($811.1million).

Bach warned athletes would be required to be flexible they prepare for the Tokyo Games scheduled to run from 23 July to 8 August 2021.

“They are not in a situation like you would (normally) be nine months before the Olympic Games where you can plan your period of training and competition, and you can determine when you want to peak,” he said.

“All this, unfortunately, is not easy but it’s the same challenge for all the athletes of the world.

“We could also see in the meeting with the Athletes’ Commission today that the athletes are really understanding this situation — of course they are not extremely happy about this but they accept it and they know that they need to have this flexibility in order to ensure a fair qualification and in order to ensure the safe organisation of the Games.”

Next week the IOC President will fly to Tokyo to meet with Japan’s Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, and Olympic organisers.

When asked whether cancellation of the Games would be discussed Mr Bach replied: “No.” 



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100m world champion Christian Coleman handed two-year ban for missed drug tests, will miss Olympics


Men’s 100-metre world champion Christian Coleman was banned for two years on Tuesday and lost his chance to succeed Usain Bolt as the fastest man at the Olympic Games.

Track and field’s Athletics Integrity Unit said it banned the American sprinter for two years, until May 13, 2022, because of three violations of doping control rules.

Coleman missed two visits by sample collection officials and failed to file correct information on another occasion, all in 2019 — the year he won his first world title.

“We see this case as involving behaviour by the athlete as very careless at best, and reckless at worst,” the three-person judging panel said in its published ruling.

Coleman can appeal against his ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The 24-year-old had been provisionally suspended from competition since May. Weeks later, details of his three so-called “whereabouts failures” were revealed.

Athletes face a two-year ban if they have three violations in a 12-month period.

A previous similar case against Coleman was dropped weeks before the 2019 world championships in Doha, Qatar.

That cleared him to take gold in the individual 100m and 4x100m relay and established him as favourite to win titles at the Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed to next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jamaican icon Bolt won the marquee 100m dash at the past three Summer Games.

Justin Gatlin of the U.S. wins the final ahead of Christian Coleman of the US and Usain Bolt of Jamaica.
Christian Coleman (second from right), finished behind Justin Gatlin in the 2017 world championships, ahead of Usain Bolt.(Reuters: Matthew Child)

The judges said there was no suggestion Coleman ever took a banned substance.

However, even the panel noted Coleman was in a pool of top-level athletes targeted for no-notice testing since 2016, and “has received anti-doping education for a number of years”.

“The evidence indicated a complete failure to [comply with the rules] by the athlete,” the judges said.

Coleman previously wrote in his blog that his third and decisive whereabouts failure — on December 9 last year — occurred when drug testers showed up at his residence while he was Christmas shopping.

Elite athletes are required to fill out a “whereabouts form” to make it possible for anti-doping authorities to carry out surprise testing outside of competition.

A violation means an athlete either did not fill out forms telling authorities where they could be found, or that they weren’t where they said they would be when testers arrived.

Coleman also got silver in the 100m and relay at the 2017 world championships in London.

AP



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Proposed boycott of 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics shot down by AOC, prompting criticism from senator Rex Patrick


Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president John Coates has been described by independent senator for South Australia Rex Patrick as holding “an antiquated and self-serving vision of international sport” in a scathing letter sent to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee.

Senator Patrick is one of a number of politicians and activists calling for Australia not to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022 over human rights abuses and concerns they could become unwilling participants in Chinese Communist Party propaganda.

“Mr Coates has chosen to go nuclear in response to my call for Australia to boycott the Winter Olympic Games’ scheduled to be held in Beijing in 2022,” Senator Patrick said in a letter addressed to committee chair Eric Abetz.

Senator Patrick has not only called for Australia to boycott the next Winter Olympics on human rights grounds, but has recommended changing the Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Bill 2020 to bring the autonomous AOC under its scope.

On Friday, Mr Coates, who is also a vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), delivered a 24-page submission to the committee saying why the AOC does not support Senator Patrick’s call for a boycott.

“The AOC does not support a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games,” his letter said.

“The AOC also opposes any amendment that would subject its activities to the arrangements contemplated by the Bill, as this could have serious consequences for Australia’s participation in the Olympic Movement.

“Any proposal to bring the AOC within the ambit of the Bill would fetter its autonomy under the Olympic Charter and, in the eyes of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), could jeopardise its recognition as a National Olympic Committee (NOC).

“The potential consequences for the AOC, Australian athletes, and others could be significant and detrimental and include — athletes not being able to compete at upcoming Games under the Australian flag, including the Tokyo 2020 Games and Beijing Winter Games in 2022 and destroying Brisbane’s bid to host the Olympic Games in 2032.”

Rex Patrick speaks in the Senate.
Independent South Australian senator Rex Patrick has been one of the loudest voices calling for an Australian boycott.(ABC News: Tamara Penniket)

Senator Patrick writes in his letter that Mr Coates’s assertions “are very big claims that lack credibility”.

“Notwithstanding his position as an IOC vice president, Mr Coates can’t predict what the IOC response to a boycott will be,” he said.

In reference to the autonomy of the AOC the Senator said the autonomy of many National Olympic Committees was “questionable at best”.

“In particular, no-one would seriously suggest that the Chinese Olympic Committee is independent of Government influence when its membership is comprised entirely of Chinese Government officials and Chinese Communist Party members,” he wrote.

“Like all institutions in China, the Chinese Olympic Committee is totally controlled by the Communist regime which is directly responsible for gross human rights violations (including I might add political hostage taking and arbitrary detention of Australian citizens).

“If the IOC were serious about enforcing the provisions of the Olympic Charter, China would not be a member.”

IOC writing new human rights language into host cities’ contracts

The IOC has recently added a clause in to all host city contracts that demands Organising Committees to:

“Protect and respect human rights and ensure any violation of human rights is remedied in a manner consistent with international agreements, laws and regulations applicable in the Host Country and in a manner consistent with all internationally-recognised human rights standards and principles, including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, applicable in the Host Country.”

The first Olympic Games subject to the new human rights clause will be Paris 2024.

The contract for Beijing 2022 was signed in 2015 before the changes were made.

The IOC has also committed to creating a human rights committee after a commissioned report from former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein and the Shift organisation.

Senator Patrick said “human rights must come ahead of sport”.

“The AOC president has a long history of jealously defending the AOC and the International Olympic Committee as institutions above and beyond political, moral influence or judgment,” Senator Patrick wrote.

“If Mr Coates’s overall position were to be accepted, one could only conclude that the Olympic Games and Australia’s participation in these events must exist in a complete moral vacuum.

“One might ask what scale of human rights violations would trigger any response from the IOC or the AOC.

“That may change with the introduction of human rights principles in the IOC’s Host City contracts for the 2024 Paris Summer Games and other Games thereafter.

“In a fast-changing world of international relations, those principles must be applied to the 2022 Beijing Games.

“Many countries fall short in respect of basic human rights, however the Chinese Communist regime’s violations are on such an enormous scale that they cannot be ignored, downplayed or whitewashed.”



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Australian politicians pressure athletes to boycott 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics


Australian athletes are being urged to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics over safety fears and concerns they could become unwilling participants in Chinese Communist Party propaganda.

The ABC can also reveal Federal Parliament will soon debate whether the Federal Government should support Australia’s withdrawal from the sporting event in 2022 to protest human rights abuses.

Alarm over China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims is prompting growing global debate over whether countries should take part in the winter games.

It is believed Chinese authorities have detained up to one million of the population in “re-education camps” in the Xinjiang region.

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz says awarding the prestigious international sporting competition to Beijing is “unconscionable” and Australia should lead an international boycott.

Senator Abetz cites mistreatment of Uighurs as well as continuing crackdowns on democracy in Hong Kong and militarisation of the South China Sea as among the reasons for a boycott.

“The time has come for the freedom-loving countries to say to Beijing ‘enough is enough’,” Senator Abetz said.

Senate to debate motion to boycott Beijing 2022

Next month the Senate will debate a motion calling on the “Australian Government to work with the Australian Olympic Committee to ensure that Australia boycotts the 2022 Winter Olympics games in Beijing”.

The joint Notice of Motion from crossbench Senators Jacqui Lambie and Rex Patrick also notes “the International Olympic Committee’s 2017 adoption of human rights principles in its Host City Contracts does not apply to its agreements with China”.

Senator Patrick believes there are also genuine safety fears for Australian competitors and media representatives planning to attend the games.

“Athletes at least need to become aware of exactly what is going on in China,” Senator Patrick said.

“The Australian Government at the moment has a travel warning suggesting that no one travels to China — they are at risk of arbitrary detention.”

The Australian Olympic Committee has rejected the idea of a boycott saying athletes from over 200 countries are scheduled to take part so “neutrality on global political issues is critical”.

“There will be many opinions on the political and social structures of all participating and hosting countries and people are entitled to hold those opinions,” an AOC spokesperson said.

“But it is not the role of the Olympic movement to dictate to sovereign governments on these issues.

“It is the role of the Olympic movement to bring the world together in peaceful competition and to uphold the Olympic vales of excellence, friendship and respect.

“There will always be different political and social perspectives — but athletes must have the right to practice their sport in that spirit of mutual understanding.”

‘Unfair to put the onus on athletes’: Steggall

A woman holds a pair of skiis over her shoulder
Zali Steggall competed in four winter Olympics during her skiing career.(AAP: Alan Porritt)

Former world champion skier turned federal politician Zali Steggall shares concerns about Beijing hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics but does not want athletes treated unfairly.

“We have great moments in history of athletes actually standing up, by participating, for injustice,” the independent MP said.

“There is a duty on the IOC in making sure that the very principles that you’re celebrating in sport, being fair play and achievement and doing your best, are actually consistent with the principles within the nations that are hosting”.

This week Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab did not rule out his nation boycotting the Beijing Winter Games over the “egregious human rights abuses” perpetrated against Uighurs.

On Tuesday the Foreign Secretary said it was his “instinct to separate sport from diplomacy and politics” but that there “comes a point where that might not be possible”.



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School sport the big winner in Federal Budget 2020, while elite sporting bodies secure funding until Paris Olympics


The Sporting Schools program has become the big winner in the sports sector of the Federal Budget, with almost $20 million committed for this year and next.

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will receive $2.4 million towards setup costs with more to come pending confirmation of State Government contributions.

The Australian Sports Foundation, a government-established charity to help raise tax deductible donations for sport, will receive $4.7 million to support community sporting clubs through enhanced IT and cybersecurity to grow their fundraising capabilities.

There is also $4 million for the Organ and Tissue Authority to partner with community, corporate and sporting partners to raise awareness and encourage donors.

The Acting CEO of Sport Australia, Rob Dalton, told The Ticket the commitment to the Sporting Schools program was fantastic.

Through Sport Australia, national sports bodies are married with service providers to offer a range of free sports to primary school children and targeted high school students in years seven and eight.

Elite sport funding secure until Paris Games

A man looks at the camera and smiles.
Acting CEO of Sport Australia Rob Dalton says the commitment to the Sporting Schools program is “fantastic”.(Supplied: Sport Australia)

Since it began in 2015, Sport Australia says 7,500 schools have received funding with the aim to encourage kids to be active and hopefully develop a life-long desire to remain so.

“We were really excited … it’s a really important program for the Government, for us, where we’ve had a record number of schools take it up in term 4, so that’s a great sign,” Mr Dalton said.

“We’re going to really work hard to try and connect the Sporting Schools program with our participation in sport so that we can try and get those kids that are participating in the program through into clubs so we can continue the cycle.”

The Government’s total commitment to sport, through funding of the Australian Sports Commission, is budgeted at $322 million for 2020-2021 with forward estimates showing a $50 million decrease in each of the following two years.

Mr Dalton said the downward projection was usual as programs complete their cycle and new programs have not been granted or are yet to re-apply for funding.

“We haven’t got any clarity at this point which is not usual as to what the funding is going to be.”

He says commitment to high-performance sport has already been guaranteed after the delay earlier this year of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“All national sporting organisations who do receive funding have got the certainty going into the Paris cycle [2024].”

Olympic Committee did not want more funds during pandemic

A sports executive stands at a lectern during an annual general meeting.
Australian Olympic Committee chief executive Matt Carroll says he did not ask for more funding.(AAP: Bianca De Marchi, file photo)

The peak body for 52 summer and winter Olympic sports, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), has welcomed the certainty provided in the budget even though no increase was sought or given.

The AOC’s CEO Matt Carroll said the Government had a lot on its plate.

“We saw from the budget last night how much they are investing to ensure Australia comes through this safely,” he said.

“Sport took the view that we weren’t asking for any additional investment but if we could just have the level of funding maintained.

“That’s exactly what the Government has done so we welcome that certainty because that’s exactly what the sports were looking for.”

The AOC, Paralympics Australia and Commonwealth Games Australia submitted a three-point plan to the Government earlier this year looking at potentially changing future funding models. They did not seek any immediate funding change.

A number of Olympic sports are also partners in the Sporting Schools program and Mr Carroll said continued funding was important.

“Sporting Schools is very important in ensuring our kids stay active,” he said.

“Quite a few of the Olympic sports participate in Sporting Schools and apart from the Government’s program, the sports themselves are then going into schools with their own development programs.”

The AOC has its own self-funded program — Olympians Unleashed — where athletes have been speaking to students virtually.

“We normally put Olympians into the classrooms but we can’t do that so we have them virtually, inspiring kids and giving them the tenacity and strength to keep on keeping on and also to make sure they’re active over this COVID time,” Mr Carroll said.

The Government has also allocated $27.4 million for Sport Integrity Australia, the new and more powerful body replacing the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.



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Tokyo Olympics organisers outline plans to protect Games participants from coronavirus


Tokyo Olympic organisers will require athletes to submit to a COVID-19 test before and on arrival in Japan as part of proposed coronavirus countermeasures to protect those at the delayed Games.

Japanese athletes and other participants living in Japan will face the same requirements, according to the draft measures, which are still being discussed.

Organisers say they are yet to make a decision on spectator numbers or whether athletes will be kept in a bubble away from members of the public.

“Athletes should be protected, and by contacting the public the athletes might spread COVID-19 — that is a possibility,” Tokyo2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said.

Mr Muto said he hoped there would be more concrete plans in place by mid-December, but there were still many discussions that needed to be had with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), international sporting federations and national Olympic committees.

The IOC’s coordination commission will be held remotely on Thursday, with the draft measures certain to make for some challenging negotiations.

A serious looking Tokyo Olympics executive sits in front of microphones during a press conference.
Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee CEO Toshiro Muto hopes firmer plans will be in place by mid-December.(AP/Pool photo: Issei Kato)

No decision has been made on how many tests athletes will have to undertake while in Japan or in the Olympic and Paralympic Village.

Under the proposal, athletes will not have to undergo a two-week quarantine period but they will have to submit an activity plan indicating their proposed destinations, such as competition and training venues, and how they will get there.

“It should be very difficult — it’s not realistic for us to consider not using public transportation by athletes because they will have to go to regional areas, they might have to use public transportation,” Mr Muto said.

The draft countermeasures from Games organisers were discussed with members of the Japanese Government and the local Government this afternoon.

In June, Toshiro Muto warned: “The Games will not be a grand splendour but will be a simplified Games.”

Japan’s Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, held a call with IOC president Thomas Bach, with both reiterating their hopes the Games would go ahead safely and securely.

Mr Bach said earlier in the day the recent staging of various sporting events around the world should provide confidence the Games would go ahead next summer.

Many difficult questions remain for Games organisers.

The Japanese Government and the IOC took the unprecedented decision in March to postpone the Games, which were originally scheduled to begin in July.

Tokyo officials have said they intend to hold the Games in 2021 even if the pandemic has not eased substantially.

Five-time Olympic champion swimmer Ian Thorpe said earlier this month he wanted the Games go ahead but was doubtful they could without a coronavirus vaccine.

“So let’s put that into perspective and, if we haven’t got a treatment or a vaccine for COVID, the Olympics will possibly not go ahead.”

The IOC’s coordination commission chair John Coates said he did not believe a vaccine would be needed for the Games to go ahead.



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