Commonwealth Games medal haul was not enough to maintain government support
By Squash Mad Reporter in New Zealand
(Source: Squash New Zealand) The funding Squash New Zealand receives from High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) has been reduced in the latest round of HPSNZ investment decisions.
The investment from the government organisation has been reduced by $100,000 per year – from $275,000 to $175,000. It is the second cut in recent years, after another small reduction this time two years ago.
In addition to the funding decrease, it is only guaranteed for 12 months. Previously, squash had received investment for 24 month terms.
The cut is a reflection of squash’s failure to reach its target of three medals at the recent Glasgow Commonwealth Games. The squash team fell two medals short of this target after securing one medal, and a fourth place finish.
HPSNZ CEO Alex Baumann explained that with many sports competing for a finite amount of funding, HPSNZ had to make some difficult decisions: “We had to make some tough calls but while some sports have had reductions, we have retained a sufficient level of investment to ensure we don’t cut too deeply into their ability to deliver results in the future because we do believe these sports have the strategies, programmes and people in place to make gains in the future”.
In spite of the reduction, HPSNZ retains confidence in squash’s high performance programme, and ability to win medals in the future. For this reason, funding has been continued (albeit at a lower level).
Squash New Zealand CE Jim O’Grady was disappointed about the funding decision: “It is extremely disappointing to lose money from our high performance programme, which was on a shoestring budget already. But High Performance Sport New Zealand have made the reasoning behind their decision very clear. All we can do now is go away and work even harder to achieve better results in future”.
“Options will now be considered by the Board, and by the High Performance Advisory Panel, as we consider how best to adjust to this funding reality. We remain committed to a high performance programme that provides pathways for athletes to reach their full potential and produce winning performances on the world stage”.
As an article in the New Zealand Herald outlines, the lion’s share of the $33.5 million in annual funding to high performance sporting codes is taken up by targeted sports cycling, rowing and yachting. Between them these sports account for nearly 40% of available funding. Squash, at the other end of the spectrum, will receive just 0.6% of the overall pie.