Rowing Ireland big winner of Sport Ireland’s new funding model for the Olympics

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Rowing Ireland was the big winner this afternoon when Sport Ireland announced a multi-year high performance sports funding model for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Previously, funding was done on an annual basis.

Rowing won two medals at the Tokyo Games last year, with Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy taking gold in the lightweight doubles and the women’s four from Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty winning the bronze medal.

Previously, rowing was only eighth in the list of top ten funded high performance programs. But now they will receive £3.9million in funding for the Paris 2024 Olympic cycle – this includes a €620,000 allocation for last year and will move to the top spot in the list ahead of Paralympics Ireland and Athletics Ireland .

In addition, nineteen rowers will receive funding under the Sport Ireland carding system with the six Olympic medalists on the maximum annual grant of €40,000.

But ongoing administration and governance issues within the beleaguered Athletic Boxing Association of Ireland were underscored when no figures on what the sport’s high performance unit will receive by the Paris Games was included in the document.

Bernard Dunne, who resigned as the IABA’s high performance director earlier in the week, had been on leave since returning from the Tokyo Games. According to the performance manager of Paul McDermott Sport Ireland, it is normally the director of HP who prepares these budgets.

McDermott stressed that the high performance unit would continue to be funded by Sport Ireland.

Even though boxing is Ireland’s most successful Olympic sport and won two medals in Tokyo, only seven boxers are eligible for individual funding under the carding system.

Kellie Harrington, siblings Walsh, Michaela and Aidan plus Tokyo Olympians Aoife O’Rourke and Brendan Irvine will receive the maximum annual grant of €45,000 while Amy Broadhurst and Keyln Cassidy will receive £25,000 each this year.

Sport Ireland has also published its annual Tokyo Games report and warned that fewer athletes may be brought to Paris in 2024 compared to Tokyo.

“The biggest number of athletes ever to go to Tokyo and Paris should focus more on who has a chance to compete at the Games, rather than team size,” according to the report.

“There is a sense that more can be done to challenge the system in terms of performance and ensure that we are not going all the way or ‘ticking boxes’. There are non-competitive athletes at the Games, both Olympic and Paralympic, and you have to think about what is acceptable as the size of the team increases.

“The ongoing preview process could become more meaningful with a greater focus on performance programs and target results each year, depending on investment per sport.

“Constructive tension, transparency and accountability are a natural part of a well-functioning system and would be welcome,” according to the report.

The report reveals that the eleven medals (four at the Tokyo Games and seven at the Paralympic Games) won by Ireland in Tokyo cost €7.4m each in terms of Sport Ireland funding.

This compares unfavorably with countries of comparable size. In Belgium the funding per medal was €5.9m, Denmark €6.1m, New Zealand €6.1m and Norway £6.7m sterling.

However, apart from Norway which spends €80.4 million on the Tokyo Olympic cycle, the other comparator countries spend much more than Ireland’s €82.2 million. The Belgians spent €131.5m – they won 22 medals – Denmark €98.5m (16 medals), New Zealand €196.3m (32 medals)

“Ireland is at the lower end of the high performance funding scale compared to peer countries,” the report notes.

High Performance Funding for the Paris Cycle, 2021-2024

Rowing Ireland: €1,093,333 (+€473k)

Paralympics Irl: 1 million euros (+ 300,000 €)

Athletics Irl: €841,667 (+€1,667)

Irish Hockey: €856,667 (+€126,667)

Irish sailing: €800,000 (no change)

Horse Sport Ireland: €803,333 (+€183,333)

Swimming Irl: €756,667 (+€126,667)

Golf Ireland: €516,667 (+€66,667)

Gymnastics Irl: €506,667 (+€276,667)

IRFU: €416,667 (+€116,667)

IRL badminton: €346,667 (+€186,667)

Irish cricket: €333,333 (+€133,333)

Pentathalon Irl: €286,667 (-€3,333)

Triathlon Irl: €250,000 (unchanged)

Irish Judo Association: €226,667 (+€186,667)

Canoe Irl: €216,667 (+€166,667)

Irish Taekwondo: €150,000 (+€100,000)

Irl Tennis: N/A (-€200.00)

Irish Clay Target Assoc: N/A (-€30k)

IABA: N/A (-€770k)

TOTAL: €9,921,669 (+€1,421,669)

  • Pictured above, today’s athletes at the center of high performance endorsements announced by Sport Ireland are Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers, TD, Dr Una May, Director of Sport Ireland Participation and Ethics, Sport Ireland Chairman, Kieran Mulvey, Russell White & Olive Loughnane (Triathlon Ireland), Nadia Power (Athletics Ireland), That Nguyen (Badminton Ireland), Jenny Egan (Canoeing Ireland) , Harry Tector & Sophie MacMahon (Cricket Ireland), JB Murphy & Martin Gordon (Para-cycling), Sarah Torrans (Hockey Ireland), Bearach Gleeson (Irish Judo Association), Ellen Keane (Paralympics Ireland, Swimming), Greta Streimikyte (Paralympics Ireland, Athletics) and Shane Ryan, Darragh Greene & Niamh Coyne (Swim Ireland). Photo: Inpho/Dan Sheridan


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