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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Charlesworth calls for more funding for Olympic athletes

Charlesworth calls for more funding for Olympic athletes

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Throw cash at Aussie athletes, urges Charlesworth

By Tim Barrow
Brisbane Times
12 August 2012

Australian Olympic athletes earn "a pittance" and the only way to rectify the disappointing gold medal return in London is to throw cash at the problem, iconic hockey coach Ric Charlesworth has declared.

Following the Kookaburras' bronze medal win on Saturday, Charlesworth said Australia needed to look at the Great Britain funding model after the huge success of the host nation in London.

It comes as Australia continues to suffer from a hangover from the Sydney Olympics, where funding, and in turn success, has steadily declined.

"The inevitable stuff will be happening in Australia," Charlesworth said.

"The criticism of us and the cost of a gold medal ... you just have to see Great Britain to understand how uplifting to the country these Olympics have been and what a marvellous thing it is for Great Britain.

"The pittance, the absolute pittance that is spent on these athletes is a worthwhile spend.

"We provide money for people doing all sorts of things ... poetry, science and mathematics, all sorts of things. And I think it's right that it be supported."

The Kookaburras were the gold medal favourites, but lost to Germany before beating host nation Great Britain 3-1 in the bronze medal play-off.

Charlesworth conceded he had less resources at his available for the 2012 London campaign than he did during his successful stint as Hockeyroos coach between 1993 and 2000, where he won two Olympic Games gold medals, as well as four Champions Trophies, two World Cups and a Commonwealth Games.

Also a former AFL high performance coach with the Fremantle Dockers and politician, Charlesworth conceded it would be unlikely he would be the coach again in Rio De Janeiro in four years time.

"I have less resources now than I did with the women's team," he said. "That is the reality. There are things that I look at our program that we didn't do because we didn't have the resources.

"Now that will sound like a whinge back home. But the point being, if you want excellence, if you want to perform well in competitions like this, the proof is in Great Britain as a team here in every sport.

"They supported their athletes and did marvellously well for the country."

Charlesworth said the Indian Premier League hockey was a major boost for the best in the world, as Australia maintained its "niche" in the national psyche against the more lucrative European competitions.

"The Indian Premier League is interesting. India is still in the northern hemisphere, but there's an Indian Ocean connection [with Australia]," he said.

"Hopefully it will improve their circumstances.

"For our players, there's a prospect of playing in India that is very attractive."

"Let's Go While We're Young"

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