Australian Opals announce Tokyo 2020 Olympic squad

Submitted by admin on Tue, 03/03/2020 - 07:58
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Liz Cambage, Bec Allen, Leilani Mitchell and Jenna O’Hea headline a star-studded Australian Opals squad of 19 players announced today ahead of their first camp of 2020 on the Gold Coast from 29th March – 5th April.


The Opals, currently ranked number 2 in the world by FIBA, will have big expectations placed on their shoulders after a quarter-final exit in Rio saw an incredible run of five-straight Olympic medals come to an end.

Of the 19 players heading into camp, only 12 will go on to compete in Tokyo, with the final team selected in late June.

"We are excited to have secured our spot for Tokyo and look forward to working hard over the next five months to ensure we are ready to play our best basketball,” Opals Head Coach Sandy Brondello said, who will be coaching her first Olympics after attending three as a player.

“With that in mind, we are thrilled to name our Olympic Squad, which we believe to be very strong with great versatility, depth and size.


In it together 💪 #GoOpals #WeAreReady #RoadtoTokyo

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"The first step of our preparation will begin next month with a camp on the Gold Coast. The coaches and I are anticipating some tough decisions in naming the final team.”

Included in the roster are five current WNBA players: Allen, Cambage, Leilani Mitchell, Alanna Smith and Sami Whitcomb.

Allen, who has now played five seasons in the WNBA, had a massive season in 2019 with the New York Liberty, having a career-high 28-point game, and averaging 42.6% from beyond the perimeter.

Also having a big year is Cambage, who was named to the All-WNBA Second Team for 2019 and has ranked 10th in the WNBA in scoring, seventh in rebounding, 11th in field goal percentage and sixth in blocked shots.


🇦🇺86-72🇧🇷 LEEEET’S GOOOOO!!!

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15 WNBL players will feature on the squad, including Deakin Melbourne Boomers player Ezi Magbegor who was just awarded the WNBL Betty Watson Australian Youth Player of the Year.

Other big names from the WNBL include the likes of, Jenna O’Hea and Katie-Rae Ebzery who were named in the WNBL All Star First-Team, as well as Cayla George, Rebecca Cole and Stephanie Talbot who were named in the All Star Second-Team.

“Australian Olympic squad selection is a significant achievement for any athlete and the depth of talent in this group is outstanding,” Jan Stirling, GM of High Performance said.  

“It reflects the diligent work, commitment and support that their WNBL clubs provide them as they aspire to earn the right to wear green & gold.”

You can find the full squad HERE

Basketball Australia

Rio medallist cousins set sail for Tokyo 2020

Submitted by admin on Tue, 03/03/2020 - 07:00
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Sailors Lisa Darmanin and Jason Waterhouse will defend their Rio 2016 podium at Tokyo 2020 after being selected today.  

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The Rio silver medallists and cousins return to the Olympic arena for their second Games in the mixed-crew Nacra class.

The pair have consistently been among the world’s best, backing up a stunning 2018/19 season which included a run of four international victories in five events with back-to-back bronze medals at the 2019 and 2020 Nacra 17 World Championships this summer. 

Australian Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020 Ian Chesterman congratulated the pair on making their second Olympic Team.

“Jason and Lisa have shown they are among the very best sailors in the world and it’s fantastic to see them on the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo,” Mr Chesterman said.

“With podiums at the Olympic and World Championship level, they have demonstrated excellence on the big stages of sport and I know they have high aspirations in Tokyo to build on their Olympic record.


“Making the Australian Olympic Team is a great achievement for Lisa and Jason personally, and a great reflection on their coaches, supporters, families and Australian Sailing.”

After a gruelling summer of sailing including two World Championships, the pair are determined to make the most of their Olympic opportunity.

“I’m excited but also relieved we get the opportunity to fight for a gold medal,” 28-year-old Darmanin said. “We’ve been working really hard and we know we have the ability, and now we get the chance to get in there and fight for it.

“Coming home with silver at our first Olympics was a pretty good feat, but we were very inexperienced about how to approach it. It’s such a long event at the Games, competing over a week, now we actually have the perspective and experience to perform even better in Tokyo.”

Waterhouse, who has balanced Nacra sailing with competing in the SailGP, believes the connection forged over a decade of competing with Darmanin gives the pair a winning edge.

“It’s really special to be able to represent Australia again, it’s a very humbling experience,” Waterhouse said.  


“We’re very proud of the performances we’ve put in the last three years and we’ve always wanted to go one better since Rio, and now we get that opportunity. 

“Lisa and I have been sailing together for 12 years now - when the pressure’s on that experience and connection really comes to the fore. I can tell when Lisa’s stressed, she knows when I’m stressed and how we can help offload that pressure both on and off the water and it’s an advantage we have that other teams might not.”

Darmanin also paid tribute to her Australian Sailing teammates and sailors who set such a high benchmark to follow.

“We’ve got an amazing Australian Sailing Team and everyone is starting to peak at the end of the quad in the leadup to Tokyo.

“We have such a strong history in Sailing at the last three Olympics so for us to carry that legacy along and inspire the next generation side by side with some of our best friends is really cool.”

The Australian Sailing Team’s Performance Director, Iain Murray AM, lauded the pair’s impressive performances.

“We are pleased to be able to nominate Jason and Lisa to represent Australia in Tokyo,” said Murray. 

“They have put together an incredibly strong campaign, and we know that their experience and track record of success puts them in a great position leading into the Games.”

Today’s selection sees Darmanin and Waterhouse join seven other sailors already selected to the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo (see table below).




Olympic Games




Lisa Darmanin



Rio 2016

Balgowlah Heights



Jason Waterhouse



Rio 2016




Tess Lloyd

49er FX






Jaime Ryan

49er FX


Rio 2016

Coal Point



Sam Phillips







William Phillips







Mathew Belcher



London 2012, Rio 2016

Palm Beach



Will Ryan



Rio 2016

Coal Point



Matt Wearn







Sailors in other eligible classes are expected to be nominated and selected in the coming months.

Find out more with full athlete bios.

WEEKEND WRAP: Quotas claimed, records broken and a world cup number one

Submitted by admin on Mon, 03/02/2020 - 15:58
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Four Taekwondo quotas, World Championship medals on the track and An Australian record in high jumping and equestrian headlines the weekend in Olympic sport.


Taekwondo – four Tokyo quotas at Oceania qualifier

Safwan Khalil, Jack Marton, Stacey Hymer and Reba Stewart finished at the top of the podium at this weekend's Toyko 2020 Oceania qualification tournament, securing Australia two male and two female spots ahead of the Games.

With a maximum of four athletes per country able to compete in the continental qualifier, the quartet ensured the maximum quotas from the weekend.

Read more HERE

Cycling – Aussies wrap up UCI Track Cycling World Champs with three medals

It was a silver and two bronze medals for Australia at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin, with Women's Team Sprint duo Steph Morton and Kaarle McCulloch claiming silver, Men's Team Sprint Nathan Hart, Matthew Richardson and Thomas Cornish finding bronze and Morton finding the podium a second time with bronze in the Women's Kierin, her first World Championship medal in the discipline.

Read more HERE

Athletics – Patterson breaks 31-year-old record with 1.99m

Eleanor Patterson soared to clear 1.99m at a meet in New Zealand, breaking the national record of 1.98m that has stood since 1989.

The incredible leap was a 3cm PB and the best result for any athlete in the world jumping outdoors this year.

The record, set by Vanessa Ward 31 years ago, was the second oldest Australian women’s national record.

Peter Bol and Joseph Deng also showed they are getting back to their top form, running a 1.45.38 and 1.45.40 respectively, fractionally outside the Tokyo 2020 qualifying standard of 1.45.20.

Find out more HERE


Eleanor Patterson clearing 1.99m and setting a new women’s Australian high jump record! ⁣ ⁣ #thisisathletics⁣

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Shooting: Selection battles heat up

Reigning Olympic champion Catherine Skinner surged back into Tokyo contention, winning the third women’s trap selection event held in Melbourne on Sunday.

Skinner bounced back from a disappointing second selection trial in February to claim the win over Lateisha Scanlan and Penny Smith. With one more selection event to come, Smith leads Scanlan and Skinner in a very tight race.

James Willett continued his dominance of the men’s trap selection trials, earning his third straight win ahead of Mitch Iles and Thomas Grice.

Paul Adams took out the third skeet selection event ahead of Keith Ferguson and James Bolding, while Aislin Jones won the women’s event ahead of Laura Coles.

The selections will come down to the final selection trials in Sydney later this month, with an Olympic berth on the line for Australia’s best shooters.

Shooters were also in action in the 10m pistol and Air Rifle, with Dane Sampson and Tori Rossiter claiming selection trial wins.

Find out more HERE

Equestrian: Five-time Olympian breaks national record

Five-time Olympian Mary Hanna on Calanta set a new Australian Record for Grand Prix Freestyle, scoring 80.145% at the Willinga Park Dressage by the Sea.

The 65-year-old's score is the first time an Australian has ever scored in the 80th percentile for Grand Prix Freestyle.

The Australian Team also jumped their way to third place on last night in Wellington, Florida at the CSIO4* Saturday Night Lights Nations Cup held at the prestigious Palm Beach International Equestrian Centre.

Find out more HERE

Beach Volleyball – Back to back Volleyfest gold for Palmer and Laird

Olympians Becchara Palmer and Nicole Laird made it back to back Manly Volleyfest titles on the weekend, with a straight-sets victory in the final to take out the Australian Championships.

The duo took out the final 23-21, 21-12 to cap off an unbeaten weekend.


Australian Champs 2020 🥇🦙

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In the men’s, Paul Burnett and Marcus Ferguson won gold 2-0 in a forfeit with Zach Schubert and Max Guehrer, who were unable to take to the court because of injury, with Schubert suffering an abdominal strain in the semi finals.

Australia’s top volleyballers will be back on the sand in Coolangatta for the FIVB tournament later this month.

Rugby Sevens – Aussies finish fourth in nailbiting medal playoff

Australia finished fourth at the LA Sevens, falling just short of the medals with a 21-19 defeat to New Zealand in the bronze playoff.

The team went unbeaten through pool play including an impressive 17-7 defeat of USA to top their pool and a 36-0 demolition of Ireland in the quarter-final.

Find out more HERE

Winter Sports: Peel shoots to top of the world and James takes Bronze

Aerial Skier Laura Peel has moved into number one on the World Cup standings with one event remaining, after finishing fourth in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Peel qualified for finals in first place, and went through to the medal final also in first, but unfortunately missed her landing on her Full-Tuck-Full triple back somersault, just missing the podium by one place.

Ahead of the final event, Peel sits in first in place on the World Cup standings with 369 points, with Mengtao Xu of China in second with 325 points, and Aliaksandra Ramanouskaya from Belarus third with 260 points.

Scotty James finished his halfpipe season with bronze at the US Open in Vail behind Yuto Totsuka of Japan and Jan Scherrer of Switzerland. 

The medal caps an incredible season in which James never finished off the podium, earning five gold, one silver and the weekend’s bronze.

Find out more HERE

Sailing – Radial Worlds and Windsurfing Worlds

Australian athletes were in action at the Laser Radial and RS:X Windsurfing World Championships.

A Tokyo 2020 quota spot was up for grabs for the top placed Oceania finisher at the Windsurfing World Championships in Sorrento Victoria, however the Australian competitors were unable to defeat the highly-rated New Zealand competitors in both the men’s and women’s events.

Courtney Schoutrop was the best placed Australian female, finishing in 45th, while Grae Morris was the best local hope in the men’s, finishing in 59th.

At the Laser Radials in Sandringham Victoria, Mara Stransky was the best-placed Australian, finishing in 18th ahead of Zoe Thompson in 24th.

Find out more HERE

Tennis – Barty falls in semis at Qatar Open

Ash Barty staged a quality battle before exiting to Petra Kvitova in the semifinals of the Qatar Open.

Kvitova resumed what is arguably the best rivalry on the WTA Tour at the moment against world No.1 Barty, halting a four-match losing run to the Australian star with the 6-4 2-6 6-4 victory.

Find out more HERE


Too good tonight, my friend. Always a pleasure 💫 @petra.kvitova

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High jumper Patterson breaks 31-year-old national record

Submitted by admin on Mon, 03/02/2020 - 14:53
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Eleanor Patterson
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Rio 2016 high jumper Eleanor Patterson has broken a three-decade-old record over the weekend when she competed at the Capital Classic in New Zealand.


Patterson soared to clear 1.99m and set a new women's Australian and Oceania high jump record in the process.

Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988 Olympian Vanessa Ward set the previous national record of 1.98 in 1989 before it was equalled by triple Olympian Alison Inverarity in 1994.

Patterson competed in Rio 2016 where the Victorian placed 11th in the Group A qualifying rounds and after missing out on the 2018 Commonwealth Games she made the decision to quit the sport altogether.

After 12 months of not training, the 23-year-old said she felt like she had lost her identity and linked up with high jumping 'super coach' Alex Stewart and since then her performance has improved exponentially.

Her record-breaking jump is 3 cm higher than her previous PB, which earned her a Tokyo 2020 quota and is also 2cm higher than the gold medal jump set by Rio 2016 gold medallist Ruth Beitia at the Games.

It is also the highest outdoor jump by a woman so far in 2020.

Fellow Aussie Nicola McDermott finished second to Patterson with a jump of 1.96m, also a Tokyo 2020 qualifier.

Aussies wrap up UCI Track Cycling World Champs with three medals

Submitted by admin on Mon, 03/02/2020 - 11:28
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It was a silver and two bronze medals for Australia at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin, with Women's Team Sprint duo Steph Morton and Kaarle McCulloch claiming silver, Men's Team Sprint Nathan Hart, Matthew Richardson and Thomas Cornish finding bronze and Morton finding the podium a second time with bronze in the Women's Kierin, her first World Championship medal in the discipline.


Of their silver medal, Morton said her and teammate McCulloch were ecstatic.

“I think we are the happiest silver medallists you have ever met. We had to go through some pretty dark clouds to even look at the rainbows here, so to come away with the silver I think I am even more stoked than last year.

Morton also went on to win her maiden World Championship Keirin medal in a dramatic end to the final. 

"It was one of those days where I was in the groove, I was doing things right, I made minimal mistakes, and the main thing was I was having fun, and it all paid off," Morton said.

The Men's Team Sprint team was without Matt Glaetzer due to a recent injury, but with Tom Cornish taking his place the team delivered, bringing home bronze.

“I didn’t think this would be the outcome, to be honest. I just took it race by race today and it came together. I’m just really happy how I rode and the team rode,” Cornish said after the race. 

Despite Australia exiting a Track World Championships without a gold medal for the first time in twelve years, Australian Cycling Team Performance Director Simon Jones remains focussed on the team's overarching strategy which is aiming to deliver success at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

"Australia has had a pretty glittering history of winning world titles - in 2017 we won more world titles than you could poke a stick at and that is not what we are trying to achieve this year," Jones said. 

"We want to win in Tokyo. Yes, we were aiming for podium performances here, or very close to, and you can't hide the fact we have come up short in some areas. But we have to learn from it. 


#Berlin2020 “It was unfortunate with Matt Glaetzer getting injured quite recently, but we backed Tom Cornish here and he delivered exceptionally today. It was really great to string three solid rides together.” @nathan_hart4 on winning team sprint bronze with @matty__richo & @thomascornish_ #auscyclingteam | The #AusCyclingTeam is proudly supported by: Cycling Australia : @cyclingaustralia Sport Australia : @sportaus Australian Olympic Team : @ausolympicteam Paralympics Australia : @ausparalympics
Commonwealth Games Australia : @commgamesaus Santini : @santini_cycling Science In Sport : @scienceinsport Premax: Stage & Screen : @stageandscreenau Training Peaks: @trainingpeaks Argon18 : @argon18bike Kask : @kask_cycling Bont Cycling : @bontcycling Vittoria Tires : @vittoria_australia ZIPP : @Zippspeed |

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"We tried several different things here, and we have to settle on a plan and then train to it. Now we have finished this period. We gave everyone opportunities, and now we have to gather the facts and make some decisions now.

"There are five months to the Games, which is a long time." 

Jones was impressed by the results of debutants Maeve Plouffe, 20, Luke Plapp, 19, and Tom Cornish, 20, who moved into the team via the Podium Potential Academy. 

"The youngsters did very well, it is great to see, and that is a testament to the Academy in that we are providing opportunities to younger talent. They also provide upward pressure, and that is really good to see."

Cycling Australia

Australia's Taekwondo athletes secure four Tokyo 2020 quotas

Submitted by admin on Mon, 03/02/2020 - 10:36
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Safwan Khalil, Jack Marton, Stacey Hymer and Reba Stewart finished at the top of the podium at this weekend's Toyko 2020 Oceania qualification tournament, securing Australia two male and two female spots ahead of the Games.


With a maximum of four athletes per country able to compete in the continental qualifier, the quartet ensured the maximum quotas from the weekend.

On the Gold Coast, Australia's Taekwondo athletes battled it out with two-time Olympian Khalil taking out gold in the -58kg men's category. Jack Marton also came out on top for the -80kg men.

If selected to the Tokyo 2020 Team, Khalil will be looking for redemption after missing out on bronze in London 2012 and finishing within the top-10 at Rio 2016.

Aussie women Stacey Hymer and Reba Stewart also claimed gold in the -57kg and +67kg categories respectively.

Trans-Tasman neighbours New Zealand also picked up a quota spot through Tom Burns in the men's -68 kg category, while Tonga secured two in the men's +80kg and women's -67kg categories for Pita Taufatofua and Malia Paseka.

With competition still continuing across the European circuit, many athletes are still in contention for selection in the weight categories qualified by the Australian quartet.

Australian Taekwondo will nominate athletes for selection to the Australian Olympic Committee based on their performance up until the end of March 2020 in line with their nomination criteria.

Thorpe, Jones and Lincoln-Smith unleashed to inspire hundreds in drought affected community

Submitted by admin on Sat, 02/29/2020 - 10:11
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Leisel Jones, Holly Lincoln Smith and Ian Thorpe at PLC Armidale Community Open Day
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A community bouncing back from one of the worst droughts in decades has been inspired and motivated by Australian Olympians Ian Thorpe, Leisel Jones and Holly Lincoln-Smith at the PLC Armidale Community Open Day.


The Olympic trio joined over 700 students of PLC Armidale, local sporting clubs and members of the New England region to provide inspiration and hope through the Olympics Unleashed program, presented by Optus.

Five-time Olympic Champion, Thorpe, said he really valued the opportunity to share his story and bring positivity to the regional community. 

“Olympics Unleashed, partnering with Optus, is a fantastic program that we’ve been able to do right around the country, and to be able to come to an area that has been affected by drought is really important to us,” Thorpe said.

“We want to show communities that Olympians care about them – we come from communities just like this, and where we can, we want to show our support.”

Olympic swimming champions Thorpe and Jones delivered key-note speeches to the captivated audience, followed by a community Q&A session with Thorpe, Jones and Lincoln-Smith. After the presentations, everyone enjoyed a fundraising BBQ, with meat donated by AOC  sponsor Meat and Livestock Australia, with funds to be donated to the Country Women’s Association Disaster Relief Fund. 

Local sporting clubs set up fun activities so kids could have a go at new sports, while the Optus regional promotion truck put on a twilight cinema experience, showing Olympic favourite Cool Runnings.

Four-time Olympian Jones said that while athletes can’t change the weather, they can bring excitement and positivity to the area suffering hardship.

“When a country falls on hard times, especially with drought, it is nice to get a little bit of reprieve, to talk about positive stories and to enjoy these times,” the nine-time Olympic medallist said.

“If we can provide a bit of a positive experience and get people excited about the Olympics and trying new sports, then that’s great. And people in country Australia are so good at that – they’re so awesome at sport, they’re always out there and having a great go.”

Dual water polo Olympian Holly Lincoln-Smith said the buzz around the event was really special.

“As athletes, we sit here and talk about our journey of resilience, but look at this community – they’ve fought droughts, and fought bushfires and you look around us tonight at this crowd and with the BBQ and the sports, they have put on this amazing event. That is bouncing back, that is resilience and it’s really incredible to see here tonight.”

PLC Armidale 2020 Sports Prefect, Charlotte Caldwell was inspired to have Olympic legends in her school.

“To hear their stories from when they were younger was really inspirational, not only for me but for all the girls in the room and the whole school,” the Year 12 student said.

“I thought it was a great opportunity for the Armidale community to get involved with our school and especially to get involved with the Olympians and Olympics Unleashed. I think it’s a really awesome program that they’ve set up and it was awesome that the athletes got to come to PLC.”

A keen sports-woman herself, Charlotte said the athletes gave advice to inspire her own sporting ambitions.

“There was something they said: ‘it wasn’t about motivation but determination. You’re not always going to be motivated but you have to be determined to get out there and do it’, and I feel that most mornings trying to get out of bed at 6am to do my own training. But I’m definitely going to put that into my sport now.”

London 2012 bronze medallist Lincoln-Smith touched down in Armidale early and visited three Armidale high schools – The Armidale School, O’Connor Catholic College and Armidale Secondary College – to deliver the Olympics Unleashed program to Year 9 students before Friday night’s event. 

“It’s a real honour to be able to come out here to Armidale, talk to these kids, share my story and to have them respond and ask questions,” she said.

“Hopefully I’ve inspired them to chase their dreams – not necessarily in sport, but art or dance or whatever it may be, I’ve unleashed that passion in them to work towards their dreams.”

To find out more about the Olympics Unleashed program and register to have Olympians visit your school, head to

Georgia Thompson

Leading sports organisations join forces to create Alliance for Sport Recovery following Australian bushfires

Submitted by admin on Fri, 02/28/2020 - 08:25
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The Australian Olympic Committee, Paralympics Australia and Commonwealth Games Australia have joined forces with The Australian Sports Foundation to form the Alliance for Sport Recovery. The goal of the Alliance is to raise crucial funds to help get people back on the playing field in communities devastated by the country’s recent bushfires.

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This is the first time these four leading sporting organisations have come together in such a way, and their aim is to work together to raise and distribute funds to replace damaged equipment and offer financial support to help affected families and communities come together once again through the power of sport.

In the bushfire affected areas, infrastructure and buildings will usually be covered by local councils or insurance, but things like equipment, uniforms and even memberships to sporting clubs for those families who have been financially impacted will not be. These are the practical and essential items that the Alliance will be funding, to help get clubs and the community back on their feet.

Patrick Walker, CEO of the Australian Sports Foundation said “The Australian Sports Foundation and our Alliance Partners know the important role that sport plays in breaking down barriers and creating a sense of wellbeing. This is particularly important after a natural disaster, as sport brings communities together, in turn helping the recovery and healing process. Through this initiative we will give communities the kit and equipment they need to get their sporting teams and clubs back up and running and so speed their return to normality.”

Matt Carroll, CEO of the Australian Olympic Committee said “Sport is at the heart of our communities and many sports clubs themselves in our towns will need assistance to recover. The Olympic sports will be working to support clubs, schools and families. Restoring the enjoyment of sport is a significant step in rebuilding community spirit and the Olympic movement is ready to step up and help.”

Lynne Anderson, Paralympics Australia CEO, said: “We’re proud to be able to work closely with our Alliance partners on such an important initiative. While we will bring a particular focus on supporting Australians with a disability who have been impacted by the fires, our aim is to share the values of Paralympic sport and the power of sport with as many Australians as possible.”

Craig Phillips, Commonwealth Games Australia CEO, said: “We have seen the impact of the recent bushfires on many of the grassroots clubs from our member sports, and also our past and present Commonwealth Games team members.  We stand ready to assist in whatever way we can to help these communities and the individuals and families affected rebuild and return to participating in the sports they love.”

It is estimated that hundreds of sports clubs and associations have been devastated by fire with athletes and clubs now faced with the task of replacing sporting facilities and equipment. Through this collaboration and with the support of Olympic, Commonwealth Games and Paralympic athletes, it is hoped people and businesses will dig deep and donate so local areas can regenerate through sport and help local communities heal quickly.

With the rebuilding and healing process set to take years, now is a crucial time to be donating to help support these affected clubs so they can play their vital role in the recovery process.

Donations can be made online at All donations are tax deductible and will be distributed to affected sports clubs and communities to get them back up and running.

For further information visit

AOC welcomes ACT Government contribution to help Tokyo-bound athletes

Submitted by admin on Fri, 02/28/2020 - 07:57
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With the start of the Tokyo Olympic Games now 147 days away, the AOC has thanked the ACT Government for its contribution of $100,000 to the Team Appeal to send our athletes to the Summer Games.

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The donation will go directly to ensuring Australia’s athletes have the highest quality medical support, physiotherapy, recovery, welfare, logistical and other support.

AOC Chief Executive Officer Matt Carroll says the generosity of the ACT Government is appreciated by Olympians.

“We are hoping to send potentially the biggest Olympic Team to leave our shore. Depending on qualification, we could reach a Team of 490 athletes and maybe more, which shows the incredible support for Olympic sports in Australia.

“Athletes work extremely hard for many years to earn the right to represent their country. Our job is to ensure we give them the best support so they can do their best.“

Mr Carroll was speaking at an Olympics Unleashed school visit to Macquarie Primary School in the ACT this morning.

Olympics Unleashed, presented by Optus, has been enthusiastically embraced by ACT primary and secondary schools since it was launched in August last year, thanks to the support of the ACT Government.

The program has seen athletes visit 35 schools and speak to 6,000 students to date. Today’s aspiring archer Astin Darcy spoke to the students.

Athletes have been delivering messages around self-awareness, motivation and goal-setting to students as well as the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle.

“The ACT community loves its sport so our partnership with the ACT is a natural fit,” Mr Carroll said.

“Olympians offer something special that goes beyond sport. More than 100 Olympians have offered to assist in rebuilding community spirit in fire-affected areas on the eastern seaboard. Olympians certainly believe in giving back.

ACT Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Education and Sport Yvette Berry MLA said “The ACT Government has supported the past three Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing, London and Rio, and it is great to be supporting the 2020 Tokyo Games.

“The ACT Government is donating $200,000 across the Australian Olympic Committee and Paralympics Australia 2020 Tokyo Team Appeals, as well as providing $100,000 in training grants for eligible ACT athletes.

“Canberra has a unique status as the home of elite sport through the Australian Institute of Sport at Bruce and the ACT Academy of Sport. Canberrans have a close relationship to elite athletes here because they’re so accessible to the community through school programs and as neighbours around town and that’s why the government is committed to supporting them through this funding,” Ms Berry concluded.

The ACT corporate community is also supporting the Team Appeal with a fundraising dinner on May 9th. The Team Appeal Gala Dinner at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra hopes to raise $250,000 according to ACT Team Appeal Chair Paul Powderly.

“The ACT Corporate community have been great supporters of Charity and sporting events over the last 10 years, and we are confident that the team appeal for Tokyo will be no different Support has been strong – across the board we hope to raise $500,000 for our athletes,” Mr Powderly said.

From wilderness to world’s biggest stage for Olympic canoeists

Submitted by admin on Fri, 02/28/2020 - 06:30
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Daniel Watkins and Lucien Delfour will take on the Canoe Slalom whitewater in Tokyo, after being selected to the Australian Olympic Team today.

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Watkins, as comfortable paddling through wild rivers of his home state Tasmania as the technical course of elite slalom, will make his Olympic debut in the C1 event, while Rio Olympian Delfour returns to his second Games to contest the K1.

Delfour and Watkins secured their ticket to Tokyo by winning the Paddle Australia selection trials in February in K1 and C1 respectively, with the pair coming out on top in their event across the 2020 Oceania Canoe Slalom Championships in Auckland and 2020 Australian Open Canoe Slalom in Penrith.

Today’s selection completes the Australian Canoe Slalom Team for Tokyo, with Delfour and Watkins joining multiple World Champion and dual Olympic medallist Jessica Fox, who was selected to contest both the C1 and K1 in November 2019.

Australian Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020 Ian Chesterman congratulated the two canoeists.

“It’s fantastic to announce Lucien and Daniel today and complete the Canoe Slalom team for Tokyo,” Mr Chesterman said.

“Becoming a dual Olympian is a remarkable achievement and I’m delighted to see Lucien selected to his second Games. He has been showing outstanding form this season and is reaching the top echelon of the sport.

“As a proud Tasmanian myself it’s great to have Daniel selected to the Team as another representative of our island state. Bringing together athletes from every corner of the country is part of what makes the Australian Olympic Team so special and I’m sure Tasmanians will be celebrating Daniel’s announcement today.


“Daniel has incredible talent and it’s been fantastic to follow his continued development to now make his first Olympics.” 

24-year-old Watkins is ecstatic to make his Olympic debut.

“Making the Olympic Team means everything to me, it can change your life forever” Watkins said. “It’s the pinnacle of our sport and I’m still overwhelmed.

“When I made it through the selection trials and knew I secured the spot, I had super strong emotions for the next few hours. It’s hard to put into words how it feels after paddling for 10 years to make an Olympic Team – it’s very powerful.”

Known as “Dan the van-man”, Watkins spends months each year trekking through wild terrain in his van, swapping the technical slalom course to canoe through Australia’s natural whitewater wonders.

“For the last five years I have been living in my van for a few months each year. It keeps me connected to why I began the sport to begin with – getting into the wilderness, getting out on rivers and enjoying that time with friends and family.

French-born Delfour, who has been competing for Australia since 2010, was honoured to make his second Olympic Team for his adopted country.

“The Olympics means so much, it’s what I train for every day, I dream about it, it’s always on my mind.” Delfour said.

“It’s a really special honour to make the Olympics for a second time and I’m so excited to go to Tokyo.”


Paddle Australia President Andrea McQuitty was proud to see the slalom team for Tokyo announced.

“We are very excited to see our Canoe Slalom team finalised and wish Lucien Delfour, Daniel Watkins as well as Jess Fox all the very best for a successful Olympic campaign,” McQuitty said.
“It is wonderful to see our returning Olympians Lucien and Jess being joined by Games newcomer Daniel Watkins, which is great motivation for all of our up and coming paddlers around the country. The Paddle Australia community is very proud of our Canoe Slalom team and we are looking forward to cheering them on in Tokyo.”

The slalom program consists of four events – C1 and K1 for both men and women, a change from the Rio program of women’s K1 and men’s K1, C1 and C2, with the women’s C1 Olympic debut making Tokyo 2020 the first Games with an equal number of women’s and men’s canoe events and athletes.


Canoe Slalom will take place from 26 to 31 July at the Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre, the first humanmade course in Japan. 

Today’s selection takes the announced Australian Team for Tokyo 2020 to 21 athletes of an expected 480-strong Team size.

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