With about two years to go till surfing debuts in the Japan-hosted Summer Olympics, nations eager to score gold are ramping up their training.
Some countries, expectedly, are investing more in their athletes than others. However, one of the more interesting disparities is that between Australia and the UK.
In a joint press release, the surf associations of the British Home Nations stated that they received no funding from UK Sport, the authority in charge of Olympic sports funding for the United Kingdom. The reason? UK Sport deem it improbable that any British surfer will win a medal in the upcoming games, and they intend to invest only in medal-winning performances that can inspire their nation.
Adding to the difficulty of obtaining funding, the release states, “It is also yet to be confirmed if surfing will be in the 2024 and 2028 Olympics, which also makes attracting investment into surfing a challenge.”
In contrast, Australia is placing major financial backing behind its national surf team. The Aussies are sending their surfers for training to nowhere less than Kelly Slater Wave Co’s wave pool in Lemoore, making them the first national surf team ever to train there. And they are booking not just one training camp, but two – one in June, another in August.
Andrew Stark, CEO of Surfing Australia, delivered the statement, “We want to provide our athletes with every advantage possible when preparing them for the upcoming Olympics where surfing will make its debut, and going to Surf Ranch is the ultimate way to achieve that.”
It remains to be seen whether Australia’s investment pays off. The Olympics, after all, will be held not in a wave pool but at a beach in Ichinomiya. With no lack of national support, however, one thing is certain – morale has got to be high for the Australian surf team.
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