09 August 2016
Australian Sports Commission Chair John Wylie AM has described Australia’s first Rugby Sevens gold medal as a defining moment for the further progress of women’s sport.
The ASC almost doubled its high performance funding of Rugby Sevens in the four-year cycle approaching the Rio Games - to approximately $6.9 million and up 186 per cent - ensuring the new sport and its athletes had the resources to reach their potential in Brazil.
AIS funding support, including direct athlete grants to female players, is based on performance and potential, so more than half of the Rugby Sevens funding was directed to Australia’s number one ranked women’s team.
The AIS also provided start-up funding and support to enable the Rugby Sevens program to be centralised in Sydney in 2014. Working closely with Australian Rugby, the development of this team was on display in Rio.
Wylie said Australia’s 24-17 win over New Zealand in the final was an historic moment for rugby, but also women’s sport more generally.
“This was such a significant win for Australian sport and, in particular, the further progress and recognition of women’s team sports,” Wylie said.
“The Australian Sports Commission has consistently been a strong supporter and campaigner for women’s sport. An historic win like this really shines an international spotlight on how brilliant our female athletes and teams are.
“In recent years it has been incredible to see Australian women’s teams continue to build their profiles, led by national squads such as the Diamonds in netball, Matildas in football, Opals in basketball, the Southern Stars in cricket, the Stingers in water polo, Hockeyroos in hockey and many more.
“This win is another defining moment in the growth of women’s sport. It will inspire girls and women to pursue participation opportunities and sporting pathways. I’m confident it will have grabbed the attention of the commercial world because there is merit and reward from investing in women’s sport.
“Congratulations to the Australian team, all the support staff and the Australian Rugby Union.”