The Australian Sports Commission has announced Direct Athlete Support Program (DAS), a redesigned program, which will provide a funding of $1.6 million to Australia's best athletes.
DAS is aimed to develop athletes with emerging talents and those with exemplary performance. The program will fund approximately 200 Australian budding athletes on top of the existing 450 athletes already recipient of the program.
Minister for Sport Peter Dutton said the redesigned DAS will be more beneficial to the Australian athletes as it now amounted to $48 million.
"More direct funding through the Australian Institute of Sport for potential Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games medallists is an important part of Australia's plan to remain on the podium of world sport. Redirecting existing funds from administration to athletes will complement the broader reform agenda being driven by the Australian Sports Commission across high performance sport," Dutton said in a statement.
"The targeted eligibility criteria will ensure the funding reaches those athletes most likely to deliver results, who will each be in line for a boost in direct funding of up to 30 per cent. The scheme will also include a new category for our top ranked emerging talents, ensuring that around 200 additional athletes across the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines will be eligible for direct grants," he added.
"It is important to remember that DAS is a means-tested payment to our most deserving athletes to help them train, recover and compete for Australia. The vast majority of these athletes do not earn a significant income from representing their country and must balance full time training commitments with work or study," he noted.
In an address given to Australian Olympic Committee, Dutton cited the new DAS was inspired by his personal experience going to Sochi Winter Olympics of 2014. It was his first experience of the Olympics, the minister said.
He recognized that Australia had the largest number of Australians meeting Olympic qualifying standards to merit inclusion in the league of David Morris, Torah Bright and Lydia Lassila. The two female athletes evidenced as to how the country's female athletes continue to lead the way, according to Dutton.
The Sochi results - 15 in the top 10; 27 in the top 16; and 7 of the top 60 moguls competitors in the world, plus 2 finishing in the top 10 - should show why funding is of significant topic, Dutton said.