Yachting Australia High Performance Director Peter Conde heads up a very focused sailing program
Tom Slingsby in the Victory Ritual - August 6, 2012 - Weymouth, England
Mid-way through the 2012 Olympic regatta Australia have secured two gold medals and with at least a silver and with prospects of better yet to come, they are duking it out with Great Britain to be the most successful sailing country at this event.
We talked to Conde today and he explained just how Yachting Australia is looking to 2016 and beyond.
‘If we manage to get three gold’s here we are on track. It’s what we came for.
‘We believed we could deliver three gold medals and that's what we said to our funding parties.
August 8, 2012 - Weymouth, England - Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) Gold Medal winners
‘We have been extremely focussed on making sure we deliver on what we said we will and that is what we need to do to keep ourselves in a good position for the future and for the futures support.
‘And we think on the back of our performance, we have, with the new classes coming in for 2016, we think we have more legitimate medal opportunities.
‘So we will be looking for our supporters and our funders to recognise that this team can deliver and we will look towards 2016 with expanded ambitions.
‘At the moment before the Mens 470 medal race, you can say we have got two gold’s and a silver so that worst case and that’s what sailing delivered in Beijing and a lot of people don't realise that sailing was Australia’s second most successful sport in Beijing.
Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) competing in the Men’s Two Person Dinghy (470) event in The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.
‘I understand there has been there is good coverage of the sailors performances back at home and I think it is important that we leverage that for the long term benefit of the sport.
‘I think one of the happy things about the support we have got from the Australian Sports Commission in the last 12 months is being that they have recognised the need to support the sport at a participation level.
‘They have provided some seed funding and Ross Kilborn has come on board, as the Sport Development Program Director to drive that area of the sport and we think that the timing is great. We get to leverage the success here as well as a little bit of seed funding.
‘It is not a lot but it is what we need to leverage the participation back in Australia with the Discover Sailing programme that has just very recently been launched and we feel that will be an important part of making what we are achieving here sustainable in the longer term.
‘We need to have that participation base. We need to have a clear pathway which I think we have albeit that we are still in the process of refining that and we need to continue what we are doing at the very top level.
‘Our dinghy sailing programmes at Club level around Australia used to be very fragmented. Now with programs like Tackers program there is an excellent structure.
‘If you look at other sports that have been successful at participation level. They have a strong brand. They have something recognisable. It’s a bit like McDonalds. You know what you are going to get when you go there whereas in the past when it comes to sailing you can go to any sailing school and you would have no idea what you were getting.
'The aim of the Tackers programme based on the Optimist is to be that quality control.
‘With the Tackers program there is a defined entry to the point into the sport that everybody understands and then from there in the high performance area we have got to take that forward with a viable pathway. I think we have that now at every level an athlete can see what the next level is and they can see that it is achievable. I think that it really important.’