Sports minister Kate Lundy announced a $1 million funding boost for the Australian Institute of Sport today, as the AIS welcomed a new Director, Matt Favier.
Favier, a former middle distance runner who was briefly married to heptathlete Jane Flemming in the 1990s, was appointed late last year but began work at the AIS today following eight years as head of performance at UK Sport. He told the Canberra Times he wants to help return Australia to being one of world sport’s high-performance leaders.
Favier said the AIS may look at allocating more funding to multi-medal events such as swimming, cycling and rowing, sports which carry the bulk of Australia’s Olympic hopes.
“Any sport that is a medalling sport for us and has done so in the last 8-12 years should consider themselves to be in a reasonably good place,” Favier said. “If we don’t value Olympic medals we’re not in the right business.
“Where sports are performing well and there’s additional medal opportunities for Olympic and Paralympic Games, it’s very likely funding will be increased to support those sports. But we won’t be backing away from team sports we excel in either.”
In a statement today Senator Lundy ”welcomed Favier … by announcing $1 million in funding for research into high performance sport”.
“It is a great pleasure to welcome Matt to the AIS and also announce this important high performance funding research,” Senator Lundy said.
“The Government is committed to ensuring the AIS remains a leader of pioneering high performance sport research, and elite athlete training and development.
“This high performance funding will ensure the AIS can continue to support our elite athletes.”
The money was made available through the Australian Government’s Pathways to Success Initiative to support new research and has been allocated into three separate funds – the Sport Innovation Fund, the High Performance Sports Research Fund and the Big Idea Fund. A total of 44 successful research proposals were identified to support our athletes and build on the innovative research projects already underway at the AIS.
“While we celebrate the performances of our elite athletes, often the research, science and innovation work that unfolds behind the scenes is overlooked,” Senator Lundy said.
“In such an important year for Australian sport, research has the potential to turn the performances of our athletes into medals at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“At the Olympics, what separates a medal winning performance and placing 4th or 5th can be extremely small – this is where high performance research can make a real difference.”
The funding announcement coincided with former AIS scholarship holder, Matt Favier, commencing his job as AIS Director, having returned to Australia after eight years in the United Kingdom, including two years with UK Sport.
“He has excellent credentials as a leader in the field of high performance sport,” Senator Lundy said.
“His decision to come home at such a crucial time in the lead up to the London Olympics is an endorsement of the international regard of the AIS.”
Favier said innovative research was a cornerstone of the AIS’s work and critical to sporting excellence.
“It is great to be back home and I look forward to seeing the results of this research funding,” Favier said.
“This round of research funding will result in money being spent with key high performance partners in the national institute network.”
In Favier’s position as Head of High Performance Solutions at UK Sport, he played a significant role in shaping strategic investment of funding to UK sporting bodies as well as developing high performance strategies and solutions for sports.
Favier was an Australian middle distance runner and was married briefly to heptathlete Jane Flemming.