World champion Evans says government funding of Elite sport needs to continue
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

World champion Evans says government funding of Elite sport needs to continue

by Conal Andrews at 7:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

World champion Cadel Evans has urged the Australian government to continue providing funding for Olympic sports such as cycling.

He was responding to the recently-published Crawford Report, which argued that future funding for sport there should focus more on those with a higher participation rate rather than giving additional money to Olympic sports. It also advocated putting funds into grassroot levels rather than those close to the top.

The Australian Olympic Committee had been arguing for an extra $100 million, and was critical of the report.

Evans argues that the support needs to continue. He said that the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) support he received as a young mountain bike rider was crucial to his career development.

"If Australia have any hopes to perform at the Olympics, not just in London but beyond, unfortunately we have to invest in young talent," Evans said, according to AAP.

"I don't know if I would have made it as a professional athlete if I hadn't had the help from the AIS and Cycling Australia earlier in my career."

The double Tour de France runner-up said that at recent promotional appearances for his new book, he’d been given plenty of feedback from people who took up cycling.

"At the book launches, I don't know how many people have come up to me and said 'only because of you and thanks to you I've taken up riding my bike'," he stated.

"Whether they're 40 or 50 or 60 or 20, it's been really quite overwhelming, I'm quite surprised."

Evans’ compatriot Anna Meares has also argued that government backing needs to continue.

"We have business to do in London, we have a lot of business to take to the Poms in the Olympic Games," she said.

"We do need the funding to get us there."

While the Crawford report applies only to Australian sport, the current debate is relevant globally as tough economic conditions mean that many countries are considering how best to allocate funds.

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