The Travelodge Aussie Spirit, the open women’s national softball team, will receive a funding boost over the next two years from the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) as part of a new investment strategy towards sport stability and agility.
Softball Australia CEO David Pryles said the funding announcement will give the Travelodge Aussie Spirit the advantage they need to put the team in the best possible position to secure a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
“It’s great to see the AIS showing this much faith in our Sport, ” Pryles stated.
With the upcoming Asia Pacific Cup and the inaugural 2019 ‘The Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball’ tournament in Sydney, the Travelodge Aussie Spirit girls will get a further boost in their preparation for the Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualifier.
“It’s definitely an exciting time for softball in Australia. We have a proud Olympic record, having won medals at every Olympics in which softball has been contested. We wish to continue on this legacy and all efforts will therefore be directed towards qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Pryles added.
The AIS announcement is a part of a newly launched high performance investment framework to give Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games sports longer term funding stability, which includes an additional boost of $6.7 million to 12 high performance programs over the next two years.
AIS Director Peter Conde said the investment framework provided more certainty for sports, balanced with an important element of flexibility to make performance adjustments to fund new sports and new performance initiatives.
“The AIS is making these funding changes now to increase the probability of success at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics but also to get a head-start on athlete pathways for the future Olympic cycles,” Conde said.
“This means the AIS will continue to strongly invest in Australian teams, which reflect as only one medal on a traditional medal table but ultimately produce multiple medalists. We are also supporting sports to focus on athlete wellbeing and their connection with communities,” Conde continued.