Australia may follow British lead on Olympic funding

For years, Britain has envied the efficiency with which the Australian sporting structure turns out elite athletes who excel on the international stage. Now, following Britain's historic success at the Beijing Olympics, the boot is, so to speak, on the other foot.

The Australian team returned home to a rapturous welcome yesterday, but the country remains dejected about its sixth-placed medals ranking – two behind Britain. After meeting athletes at Sydney airport, the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, said he intended to review Olympic sports funding, and would consider whether to adopt the British model of lottery revenue.

The National Lottery, introduced in 1994, has raised millions of pounds for British sport. Mr Rudd voiced caution, saying: "There's been some studies, apparently, by previous [Australian] governments of this... which have said it may not work. We want to have another look at it, because it's a positive, constructive idea."

The Australian Institute of Sport has long been regarded by Britain as a model for promoting excellence in sport. But Australia is smarting at the way Britain overshadowed it in Beijing, with the former bringing home 14 gold medals compared with Britain's 19. Mr Rudd exhorted athletes to start preparing for the London Olympics, and to "spoil the party" for the British in 2012. He said that sports funding would be boosted.

"The government is funding a large slab of investment in community level sport, school sports, indigenous sports, but also we're not going to be backtracking when it comes to funding for Olympic level sports either," he said. The Sports Minister, Kate Ellis, has said in the past that she "doubts very much" whether a lottery funding system would be viable in Australia.

l Olympic 400 metres gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu will top the bill at the Aviva British Grand Prix on Sunday. Britain's only track and field champion in Beijing will miss the IAAF Golden League meeting in Zurich on Friday to run at Gateshead.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate