8 May 2009

SPARC defends funding for top athletes

5:43 pm on 8 May 2009

The government sports funding agency SPARC says it's doing all it can to fund New Zealand's top high performance athletes.

This comes after world champion shot-putter Valerie Vili yesterday squashed suggestions by a British magazine that she would defect allegiances to Britain, due to a lack of funding for local athletes.

SPARC's High Performance Manager Marty Toomey says Vili receives the maximum performance enhancement grant of 40 thousand dollars, and as a carded athlete she also has access to top sports science and sports medicine facilites, as well as having all travel and accommodation costs met for major events.

Marty Toomey says while the no-one is going to get rich, SPARC cannot compete financially with major overseas countries and Vili knows that.

In Britain athletes earning the equivalent of the maximum performance enhancement grant here receive up to 65 thousand pounds each, and it's expected about one point two billion New Zealand dollars will be spent in the United Kingdom on high performance athletes, leading up to the 2012 London Olympics.