Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

450k Olympic funding announced

11th March 2009

Sailing breathed a sigh of relief today when the Irish Sports Council announced that they are continuing their investment in sailing as one of their identified focus sports when they allocated €450,000 to the Olympic squad.

ISA Performance Director James O’Callaghan commented: “It is great to get this continued support from the ISC. It is confirmation that the Sport Council are happy with our programme and the results we are delivering.”

The ISA says its Olympic Programme is now at a crucial stage in its development. Investment in the youth Academy proves we can compete with and beat the best in the world. For 2009 these high achievers now graduate on to the senior circuit.

“Through this continued financial support we have put structures and systems in place at all levels of the pathway programme. We are now showing our potential. In 2008 we had world class results for our Academy sailors, four boats qualifying for the Olympics and can count two race wins at the Games themselves. We need to continue to build on this going forward towards 2012.” said Harry Herom ISA chief executive.

The ISA also accept that there are a lot of improvements still to be made but say they can only do this from a sound financial platform. "The ISC funding is a huge start in putting the structures is place but to progress the programme to the next level additional funding must be sourced"  said O'Callaghan.
“That is a huge challenge but hopefully within the sailing community we can find the support necessary to give our talented athletes a real chance of winning.” he added.

The news came as part of the overall sports council announcement for sport. 2009 is an important year as there are a number of important events, including world championships in boxing, swimming, athletics, cycling and rowing, as well as being the first in the four year cycle in advance of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The support structure provided by the Irish Sports Council has three pillars. There is investment in Performance Plans developed and implemented by the target sports to cover every aspect of the training and competition at elite level from junior to world class athletes. The International Carding Scheme is a direct payment to athletes to support their commitment to full time sport. The Institute of Sport, operating at Abbotstown as a sub-committee of the Council, will deliver programmes to athletes and coaches in scientific, medical, coaching and lifestyle supports.
Following great success in 2008 boxing was the big winner with €1.1 million invested in high performance in 2009. Cricket will receive support for a Performance Plan for the first time following the progress made at the World Cup in 2007 and retaining the ICC Trophy in 2008.
The International Carding Scheme is well established and remains a central pillar of the support system. It comprises 263 athletes and 5 teams from junior to contracted world class supported in 2009 with 12 contracted s and 25world class athletes. Athletes who performed well in Turin at the weekend are elevated with Mary Cullen at World Class and Kelly Proper at International Class for the first time.
This grant scheme is augmented by Performance Plans consisting of sport specific elite campaigns from junior to world class and resourced by the Irish Sports Council. Designed and implemented by a Performance Director, the plans cover training camps, competition requirements, coaching, sports science & medical support and equipment requirements. Performance Directors ensure that the Carding Scheme and Performance Plans are complementary and, overseeing both schemes, support elite athletes are supported in financial and non-financial aspects of their programmes.
Ossie Kilkenny, Chairman of the Irish Sport Council commented: “Minister Cullen, and the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism, are very supportive of our ongoing efforts to develop the high performance system. The Council thanks them for their efforts and is delighted to be in a position to invest substantially in high performance sport in 2009”.
Mr. Martin Cullen, TD, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism said; "The 263 athletes and five teams supported directly under the Carding Scheme and the additional support for their National Governing Bodies (NGB) high performance plans, are crucial for everyone as they prepare for and participate in their sport at major international events during 2009. It is appropriate and important that this investment is continued."
John Treacy, Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council, speaking at the event, said “2008 was a very successful year for Irish high performance sport with Olympic, Paralympic, World and European success, as well as the fantastic achievements in golf and cricket. As we build the high performance infrastructure in Ireland, we see sustainable and repeatable success across a number of sports. We believe that this represents a real return on State investment in elite sport”.
The Irish Sports Council recently published the Quadrennial High Performance Review, known as the Beijing Review. That document made a series of recommendations for the improvement of the high performance system in Ireland. The Council accepted the findings of the Review and has begun the process of implementing all the recommendations which are relevant to its operations.
The Council has not made a final decision on the Performance Plan for AAI. €5.118 million will be invested in Performance Plans in 2009. The equivalent expenditure in 2008 was €5.35 million. €2.26 million will be allocated to athletes and teams under the Carding Scheme in 2009; the outturn in 2008 from the Scheme was €2.7 million. Team

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