by Craig Heydon
Australian Women’s Match Racing Team had a training partner of a different kind join them when Federal Sport Minister Mark Arbib hit the water for a session at Middle Harbour Yacht Club on Monday.
Senator Mark Arbib sailing on Sydney harbour with the Australian Women’s Match Racing Team - Photo credit Stewart Wood
Senator Arbib spent the afternoon crewing and helming one of the Australian Women’s Match Racing Team’s Elliott 6s in a number of races on Sydney harbour.
Senator Arbib joined Nicky Souter, Nina Curtis and Olivia Price in a session up against Katie Spithill, Jessica Eastwell and Lucinda Whitty,
Sailing with the Australian Women’s Match Racing team Senator Arbib said the experience gave him the chance to see first-hand how the team’s preparations are going for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
'The Australian Government recently committed an extra $250,000 to support the Australian Sailing Team’s preparations for the 2012 London Olympic Games,' Senator Arbib said.
'This funding is part of our ‘Green and Gold’ project that has injected an extra $2.5 million in Australia’s top Olympic sports and athletes, including our sailors.'
The targeted ‘Green and Gold’ funding will be used to enhance the sailing team’s chances of success, providing greater access to support services, quality training and high level competition.
Coming on top of additional high performance funding committed to Australia’s sailing program in 2010/11, Australian Sailing Team High Performance Director Peter Conde welcomed the Government’s commitment to Australia’s Olympic sailors.
'This new government funding will allow us to better support our athletes and coaches with the facilities, equipment and support services they need to be at their best in 2012,' Conde said.
'It was great to have Senator Arbib on the water with our athletes and to also have the chance to tour the site of our new National Training Centre here at Middle Harbour Yacht Club which is currently under construction.'
Senator Arbib said last week’s European Training Centre launch was further evidence of the Government’s commitment to achieving sustained success on the international stage.
'The Australian Government is committed to giving Australian athletes every opportunity to achieve sustained international success, turning a potential fourth, fifth and sixth placing into a medal at the London games.'
The Australian Women’s Match Racing Team are currently training in Sydney before heading to round three of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Spain in early April.
For more information on the Australian Sailing Team visit www.australiansailingteam.com.au.