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BikeNZ welcomes the decision by Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) to increase performance grants to its top performing cyclists.
SPARC’s Performance Enhancement Grants (PEGS) will now see a world champion in an Olympic discipline receive $60,000, up from $40,000 awarded previously.
That’s good for BikeNZ’s newest world champion, Sarah Walker, who returned this week from winning double world championship titles at the UCI BMX World Championship in Adelaide.
“This is fantastic news to come home to,” said Walker today. “The increase in financial support is critical to my long term goals. This is a significant contribution by SPARC which will help me to win more world titles and ultimately race for success at the London Olympics in 2012,” she said.
BikeNZ High performance Director, Mark Elliott said the increased grants from SPARC will play a key part in support for potential medallists in London.
“It’s important we recognise world class performance” said Elliott. “National Sports Organisations now have more control and can target athletes who they believe will perform in the next three years.
“SPARC have shown great foresight in investing in sports that are performing on the world stage. This year BikeNZ have won three titles at the World Track Championships including the gold to Alison Shanks in the individual pursuit and now Sarah Walker’s two world titles over the weekend.“
A key change to PEGS allows targeted sports a discretionary annual fund of $50,000 to support athletes who do not meet the PEGS criteria.
“The changes allow us to look at what an athlete’s potential is for the future, rather than looking retrospectively at past results. SPARC recognises their targeted Olympic sports can manage their athletes’ performance development over time.
“BikeNZ can now fund athletes earlier in their career, which is especially important in disciplines such as BMX or Points Racing on the track where the best prepared athletes can crash in the first corner, for instance. The changes acknowledge the long term investment of an athlete in development and performance. “