By Andrew Mitchell
B.C. athletes at the provincial and national level got a boost on Wednesday as Stan Hagen, Minister for Tourism, Sport and the Arts, announced plans to double funding for the B.C. Athlete Assistance Program.
“This program helps support B.C. athletes who are competing at the provincial and national levels, to ensure a continuum of support as they strive towards high levels of competition,” said Hagen. “There are enormous financial pressures associated with training and attending competitions. Now the B.C. Athlete Assistance Program will support even more athletes, in more sports, including increased funding for athletes with a disability.”
Funding for the BCAAP will increase from $700,000 to $1.4 million annually. The way that funds will be allocated by the program has also changed.
• Funding to athletes from provincial sport organizations will increase to $675,000 from $379,000;
• Funding for post-secondary student athletes will increase from $320,200 to $575,000;
• Funding for athletes with disabilities will increase to $100,000 from $12,290 by 2008;
• The number of eligible sports has increased from 42 to 52, recognizing snowboarding, golf, ringette, trampoline, beach volleyball, weightlifting, lawn bowls, netball, racquetball and 10 pin bowling;
• The number of athletes receiving support will more than double to 2,700, up from roughly 1,200 in 2005-06.
Some athletes who have received BCAAP funding over the years include junior hockey goalie Carey Price, wrestler Daniel Igali, wheelchair basketball multi-medallist Marni Abbott-Peter, and track and field star Dianne Cummins.
The BCAAP will be celebrating its current athletes at the annual Premier’s Athletic Awards Feb. 12 in Vancouver.