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Athletics

Total investment 2016-17: $8,657,706 (high performance: $6,496,052; high performance – para $1,611,654; participation $450,000; other: $100,000)

ASC funding as a percentage of total income: 59%

Although able-bodied athletics continues to be rated as progressing and para-athletics as on-track, steps have been made in a variety of areas to improve performances in the medium to long term. Athletics Australia has undergone several comprehensive reviews during the Rio cycle that resulted in changes to its structure and senior personnel. New systems have been introduced to increase objectivity and accountability for performance. Considerable progress has been made with assessing and benchmarking athlete performances and the support requirements of the daily training environment.

2016 saw a heavy focus on team delivery for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. The sport worked to create a high performance team culture with a focus on performing at benchmark events. Athletics came away from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with two medals and an increased number of top-eight and top-16 results compared with London and Beijing.

The para-athletics team won three gold medals at the Rio Paralympics, against a target of eight, and slightly exceeded its overall medal target of 20–25 with 26. The emergence of previously unknown athletes from other nations and our own conversion of top-eight performances to medals were again challenging.

The National Athlete Support Structure has introduced a clear structure for the categorisation of athletes and an objective framework for decisions concerning their support, based on consistent performance data. Athletics Australia recognises the need to work more with personal coaches to prioritise athletes’ abilities to peak at benchmark events, particularly through reducing time lost to injury and illness. It has already begun work on better engaging with individual coaches to improve alignment and to design and implement a top-down coach development model and a sustainable coach career pathway.
Athletics considers the implementation of a national service provider framework with each daily training environment for the 2020 cycle a priority and has already implemented a state coordinator model.

The high performance and program development teams are working with AIS Pathways to review and consider a whole-of-sport approach to the athlete pathway.

Governance commentary

Athletics Australia is progressing with governance reform and has been working to make the necessary changes in line with the ASC’s Mandatory Sports Governance Principles (MSGP). It has further strengthened alignment with Little Athletics Australia, and increased engagement with stakeholders in the development of their strategic direction. Athletics needs to pursue unified behaviours and the redrafting of its constitution to further align with the MSGP.

2016 Benchmark event // Olympic Games

Medal target: 2-4

Actual: gold 0 silver 1 bronze 1 total 2

2016 Benchmark event // Paralympic Games

Medal target: 20-25

Actual: gold 3 silver 9 bronze 14 total 26

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