Queensland’s Olympic Gold Medal Factory Facing Shock Funding Cuts On The Road To Brisbane 2032

QLD SIGNAGE
THE GOLD MEDAL FACTORY: Funding cuts set to threaten Queensland's golden pathway to Brisbane 2032. Photo Courtesy: Hanson Media

Queensland swimmers provided 50 percent of Australia’s total Olympic gold medal haul in Tokyo and now the State’s governing body is facing a shock funding cut that could well threaten the pathway of future champions with their sights set on the 2032 Games in Brisbane.

Queensland’s leading newspaper The Courier Mail has today reported exclusively on the extraordinary revelation that could well threaten the State’s medal factory – regarded as one of the most successful pathway and development programs in world swimming.

The paper reported that experienced and respected Swimming Queensland (SQ) chief executive Kevin Hasemann has expressed his extreme disappointment at being told by the Queensland Academy of Sport (that) the governing body’s funding would be slashed in a move he claims is a disturbing portent for Brisbane’s 2032 Olympics.

Hasemann told the paper SQ has received about $500,000 a year in funding from the QAS since 2015, and while they were expecting the QAS to announce it would actually double its spending on swimming in the State – much to SQ’s lament – the extra funds will not flow through their time-honoured and successful system that has bred countless Olympic and world champions.

Aug 1, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Kaylee McKeown (AUS), Chelsea Hodges (AUS) and Emma McKeon (AUS) celebrate their victory in the women's 4x100m medley final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports - Australia

QLD GOLDEN GIRLS: Three Queensland girls Emma McKeon, Kaylee McKeown and Chelsea Hodges doing it for Australia as they watch another Maroons product Cate Campbell touch the wall for gold in the 4x100m medley relay in Tokyo. Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher.

“We’ve been notified by the QAS that the level of funding we’ve been receiving from them is about to be cut significantly,’’ Hasemann told the Courier Mail.

“The Swimming Queensland formula has proven to be an unqualified success, evidenced by the outstanding performance of Queensland swimmers at the Tokyo Olympics, where, if a nation, Queensland would have finished a clear second on the medal table.

“Cutting back now can only be to the detriment of Australia’s high ambitions for the 2032 home Games.”

Over the past six Olympics – from Sydney 2000 to this year’s Tokyo Games – 54 Queensland swimmers have won 151 Olympic medals. During the same period Australia’s entire track and field team have won 19 medals.

It is understood the QAS will announce a new funding model to be redirected more into high performance in the build-up to the 2032 Games.

The move follows the appointment of Chelsea Warr last year as the replacement for long-serving QAS chief executive Bennett King who SQ regarded as one of their most loyal supporters.

Warr, formerly a performance director for UK Sport, was credited as a key figure behind Great Britain’s surge up the medal tally in the London (2012) and Rio (2016) Games.

She did not immediately respond to interview requests from News Corp.

Tokyo gold medallists Ariarne Titmus, Kaylee McKeown and Zac Stubblety-Cook were among beneficiaries from the SQ funding system which, surprisingly, has been reduced at a time when the QAS budget has been doubled.

“The QAS provides direct financial support to SQ for implementation of strategies for the development of swimmers up to an including world junior level and their coaches, who are absolutely pivotal to the swimmers success,’’ Hasemann told the paper’s senior sports writer Robert Craddock who has been at the helm of SQ for 20 years.

“From 2015, that funding has averaged over half a million dollars per annum. The Queensland Government recently announced $15 million per annum in new funding for the QAS, which doubles its budget.

“This decision will hinder the efforts of SQ, as a not-for-profit State sporting organisation with limited financial resources, to maintain – let alone build on – our extremely successful services to young swimmers and their coaches delivered across the state.

“Unless the QAS has a change of heart, SQ will be forced to reduce our development budget at a time when it’s more crucial than ever that we identify and nurture future Olympians.”

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FUTURE CHAMPIONS: Queensland’s 2021 State Junior Swimming Squad at a recent training  camp on the Gold Coast. Photo Courtesy: Trudee Stafford (Swimming Queensland).

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