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Direct financial support for Australia’s top athletes, including potential medal winners at the next year’s Commonwealth Games, will be boosted thanks to a new partnership between the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA).

ASC Chair John Wylie AM said the new partnership would result in an additional $3 million being injected into the Direct Athlete Support (DAS) scheme which will boost the payments to existing DAS athletes as well as helping pick up potential Commonwealth Games medallists not supported under the current criteria.

The ASC will invest an additional $2 million per annum through to 2014 to boost financial support for the 600 plus athletes who qualify for DAS, with the ACGA providing a further $1 million in 2013 to ensure more potential Commonwealth Games medallists are eligible for direct financial assistance. This brings the total investment in DAS to $11.4 million annually.

“It is vital support is delivered direct to athletes at the right time in their pathway to enable a commitment to pursue sporting excellence,” said Wylie.

“The DAS scheme is all about providing targeted and means tested financial support for our most deserving elite athletes that are not accessing the strong financial returns that some sports can from commercial broadcast contracts.

“Gradually expanding DAS to globally competitive levels was a key plank of the nation’s high performance sport vision, Australia’s Winning Edge, which was released last year”. 

ASC CEO Simon Hollingsworth highlighted the importance of working together with key sports bodies such as the ACGA “This partnership with the ACGA is a great example of collaboration to help contribute to the ambitious goals set out in the Winning Edge, which includes Australia being number one at the Commonwealth Games” Hollingsworth said.

ACGA President Sam Coffa AM JP said for many Australian athletes, the Commonwealth Games was their breakthrough event, where they then go on to future Commonwealth, Olympic or World Championship success.

“However, under the previous DAS program criteria, a number of athletes who had the potential to medal at Commonwealth Games fell through the funding net,” said Coffa.

“You could be highly ranked in the Commonwealth and not qualify for DAS support. Adding new tiers to the DAS program will help capture those potential Commonwealth Games medallists and support our emerging stars.

“Today’s announcement recognises that we need to invest in our best athletes if Australia is to top the medal table in Glasgow in 2014,” Coffa said. 

The existing DAS scheme provides direct financial assistance to targeted athletes at two levels – tier one for targeted athletes with top five benchmark competition results in both individual and team events and tier two for targeted athletes with top six to 10 results. 

The ACGA’s investment in DAS will create a third tier to capture emerging athletes with potential for success in Glasgow or the Gold Coast in 2018 as well as athletes ranked in the top three in the Commonwealth that do not meet the performance criteria to receive tier one or two DAS support.

DAS is means tested to ensure it supports athletes requiring financial assistance with annual payments ranging from approximately $25,000 for tier one athletes to about $6,000 for emerging athletes. This increased investment in DAS by the ASC and ACGA, together with the AOC's existing Adidas Olympic Medal Incentive scheme, means that Australia's best athletes are getting more support than ever to pursue excellence on the world sporting stage.

The announcement of an additional $1m of athlete assistance funding from the ACGA adds to the $7 million the Association is already providing to participating sports through its Go Glasgow Program to help them prepare for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. 

Source: Hockey Australia