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Three-time Olympic gold medalist ‘hates’ lack of sports funding

Three-time gold medal winning Olympic rower James Tomkins says he ‘hates’ how little funding there is for sport in Australia.

Olympic stars of the future received a $300 million funding increase in this week’s federal budget which will help ease the financial burden that accompanies the pursuit of elite sporting success.

“I think there are so many athletes that are actually missing out on the opportunity to try and represent their country,” Tomkins tells Mark Allen and David Schwarz.

“It’s expensive to do all of these sorts of things and at the moment it’s out of reach of a lot of people, unfortunately.”

The six-time Olympian agrees that it’s important to fund elite pathways but says the focus should be on increasing participation in sports across the nation.

“What we want in Australia is every kid, every person actually, to be involved in sport and to be active,” he said.

“The funding isn’t just for elite sport, it is to get people involved in sport, to become coaches, to become club administrators down at the local footy club, or athletics club, or rowing club – or whatever it is,

“That’s the backbone of sport, it’s not just the elite bit,”

The former Oarsome Foursome stroke argues that such are the benefits of physical activity, funding for sport should fall within the purview of the health budget.

“We know the benefits of sport for the community, we know the amount of cost savings it means for future generations because you have a far healthier population,

“I get really, really frustrated, I hate it.”

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