Sport

Funds for future Olympians

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Skateboarding WA clinic at Curtin University. Photo: Samuel Jones.

The skateboarding community is calling for government funding to help create an independent skateboarding association, following the sports’ inclusion in the 2020 Olympics.

Co-Owner of Perth based Skate Sculpture park designs Mat De Koning said the Olympic validation had given many a different perspective on skateboarding.

Mr De Koning hopes the momentum around the sport will lead to the creation of an independent body to oversee the unification of skateboarding.

“I very much believe the central body needs to be run by skateboarders,” he said.

“You can obviously have the people from the government overlooking it but in the end it needs to be given to the skateboarders in order for it to be successful.”

Some within the industry still feel there is a gap when it comes to how the sport is treated compared to other Olympic sports.

Professional Skateboarder and Skateboarding WA instructor Alex Yates said the responsibility of catering to demand for the sport should fall beyond corporate sponsorship.

“Skateboarding Australia lost funding about three years ago.  We used to have the Skateboarding Australia Amateurs series, a national circuit that was awesome for the development of Australian skateboarders,” said Mr Yates

The 2013 Future of Australian Sport summary, conducted by the Australian Sports Commission and the CSIRO, recognised the trend of ‘extreme to mainstream’ was occurring well before skateboarding was announced as an Olympic sport. The report then discussed possible reasons for this, including the surge in demand for extreme sports videos on social media.

Despite the report findings, Skateboarding Australia had its funding cut in 2015. The result of the loss of funding, whilst a stumbling block for the community, has not proved fatal. The announcement that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics would feature skateboarding has resulted in renewed government interest in the sport.

“The government is asking ‘how we can train the younger generation so they can compete in future Olympics?’, and we’ve told them, ‘the lack of funding needs to be sorted out, we need to build more facilities’,” said Mr Yates.

Manning Skatepark. Photo: Honeyrose May.

“A lot of young skaters don’t always have adults around. A lot of things are going on in these kids lives and sometimes skateboarding is all they have. It’s good to have programs but they need funding.”

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