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Australia up cash for Beijing
Australia has splashed out the cash ahead of Beijing
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2006 18:25 GMT

John Coates chairman of Australian Olympic Committee (Picture: GETTY/GALLO)

The Australian Olympic Committee has increased funding to elite athletes in an attempt to reverse an anticipated slide in medal prospects ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
  
The latest study by the AOC indicates Australia would finish fifth on the overall medal tally if the Olympics had been held this year, down from fourth in Athens.
The study showed Australian athletes winning 40 medals, 15 gold, 13 silver and 12 bronze, a drop from last year's medal haul prediction of 50.
  
AOC President John Coates said the $3.8 million boost in funding was added incentive for Olympic hopefuls, and in line with other top-five countries.

The study showed Germany jumping ahead of Australia, while sixth-placed Japan is also fast closing.
  
"Our executive is well aware that other nations have increased funding to their athletes and sports to record levels and we are being challenged to maintain our position in the top five on the overall Olympic medal tally," Coates said.
  
Athletes who win a gold medal at a world championship or other major international event in 2006 or 2007 will now receive $11,500, up from $7,500 USD.
  
That includes team sport athletes such as the Australian women's basketball side, which won this year's world championships.
  
"In order to remain competitive in Beijing and beyond we need to ensure appropriate incentives are in place for our best athletes," Coates said.

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