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Fund raising programme underway

20th October 2008

The Irish Sailing Association (ISA) is to embark on a fund raising campaign to train and support its Olympic hopefuls compete in the 2012 Olympics. An estimated €2.4 million was invested in the most recent Olympics, and ISA estimates the annual cost to attain Olympic medal winning standard is €1.5million per year.

 

This cycle, Ireland campaigned in five Olympic classes and qualified in four for the actual Olympic Games, sending 6 sailors and 6 support staff to Beijing. In comparison, Team GB (Great Britain) sent 18 sailors and 42 support staff, and competed in each of the eleven classes. Ireland’s budget was dwarfed on the International stage - Ireland spent €2.4 million in comparison to Team GB’s €27.5 million, which excludes significant corporate sponsorship - an item of which included a Volvo car for each team member.

Colm Barrington, Chair of the Olympic Steering Group (OSG), says that the correlation between investing in top class sailors and Olympic success is in no doubt. “Team GB, one of the world’s greatest performing sailing teams, has invested in their elite sailors structured programme over the last 3 Olympiad. Of the 47 medals won in Beijing, GB sailing brought home 6 medals including 4 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze. Now is the time to increase investment, and while some of this may come from the Sports Council, the current economic climate would suggest that such responsibilities will lie with the sailing community itself”.

Over the last three years, the OSG of the ISA has been stewarding Irish Olympic ambitions. Since 2005, young Olympic hopefuls have been taking part in the ISA Academy - a structured training programme that provides professional coaching and a managed progression from junior to Olympic level. Hundreds of young sailors aspire to be chosen for the Academy programme which has had some demonstrable success with medals secured at youth level at world and European championships this summer. However, despite obvious potential at Olympic level, there is still some way to go to before consistently challenging for medals.  To provide internationally competitive support and training, the OSG need over €1.5 million additional funding per annum.

The OSG have engaged 2into3 Ltd. - consultants who specialise in fundraising strategy - to examine potential long term funding streams to support Irish Olympic sailing success. Results so far indicate the presence of a genuine hunger for success and a desire for international competitiveness at Olympic level, nevertheless, there is a clear funding issue that needs to be addressed, according to Harvey Duthie from 2into3. Duthie says that most Non-Profits rely on philanthropic support and the OSG is no exception. “The appointment of 2into3 underpins the OSG’s recognition of the potential opportunities in 2012 and their seriousness in terms of attracting the funding to realise Ireland’s sailing potential and ambition for the next Olympics” he said.

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