There has been an element of confusion in some sections of the national media in relation to the Irish Sports Council grants announcement of last Tuesday and particularly in relation to some athletes, including Colin Griffin, who have been omitted.
Even though the Sports Council’s funding from the Exchequer has seen reductions over the past two years, in line with virtually all other areas of public expenditure, the Council decided not to apply reductions to the High Performance area this year because of the London Olympics now just over five months away. Unfortunately, they did not have the money to increase expenditure in this area.
Various assisted sports receive grants under different headings. In the case of Athletics and some other sports there are “podium” grants of €40,000, “World Class” of €20,000 and “International Class” of €12,000. This latter category included Colin last year. This year they were only in a position to include athletes who had achieved the Olympic “A” Standard at the time of allocation and nine such athletes have been grant aided in the lower with four each in the two higher catagories.
Some anomalies have been pointed out, particularly in the case of sports other than athletics, where performers who at this time cannot make the Olympic Team have been grant aided and some who may make it have been omitted. The reason here may well be that the Sports Council have a contract with the grant aided athlete, usually in the “podium” category, covering more than one year. These are usually performers who have won major International medals in recent times.
Colin Griffin and Laura Reynolds with a select few other athletes will continue to receive support for this year through the AAI High Performance allocation and should either achieve the “A” Standard will be allocated a higher level of support. Athletics Ireland and the Irish Sports Council are determined to ensure that all who have a possibility of making the Olympic Team for London will receive some support even in those difficult financial circumstances.