16 February 2007
ASC looks to next generation of talented athletes
Talented athletes from around Australia are being fast-tracked into Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games sports, under a unique National Talent Identification and Development (NTID) Program being run by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and National Sporting Organisations (NSOs).
A total of 17 sports are involved in the project, funded by the Australian Government to the tune of $20 million dollars over the next four years.
The aim: to find and develop new athletes and to transfer existing athletes between sports to allow them to reach their potential in time for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics.
In a six month period, scientists and project coordinators from the Australian Sports Commission through one of its divisions, the Australian Institute of Sport will have tested close to 1000 athletes across the 17 sports, seeking those with a chance to make it to the pinnacle of Australia sport.
A major part of the initial four year project is the identification and development of indigenous athletes in the sports of boxing, track and field, hockey, basketball and field hockey.
Money will also be invested in developing Australian talent in sports that are popular and successful in Asia, including judo, badminton and short-track skating.
At a function at the AIS in Canberra today the ASC’s NTID program demonstrated some of these talent search initiatives in shooting, indigenous boxing, tae kwon do and badminton.
ASC CEO Mark Peters said the National Talent Identification and Development Program was essential if Australia is to continue to compete with countries around the world who are investing more money in sport or concentrating on niche Olympic sports.
‘For Australia to retain its current high ranking in world sport, it is important that we use our limited athletic gene-pool to the fullest and that we become competitive at an international level across a wider range of sports,’ Mr Peters said.
‘The important injection of extra government funding will ensure that we can seek out and fast-track talent in Australia, with a special focus on our talent indigenous community and on our fast growing Asian connections.’