Sport Australia chief executive Kate Palmer has rejected claims that the AIS is dead and has stated that the sporting campus will still have a presence on its Bruce campus.
Ms Palmer said the AIS Canberra campus remains a “critical piece” to their endeavours to return Australia to a world-class standard after the Federal Government released it’s National Sports Plan on Wednesday (2 August).
Former AIS director Robert de Castella criticised the Government’s new plans for the sporting hub, claiming the AIS was now dead. The Australian marathon legend took to Twitter to express his displeasure and to bemoan the fact that a great era has ended.
de Castella said the “new” AIS has no athletes, no coaches and no residential program, making it a “sham” and compared it to a university without lecturers or students.
“What was once great, the envy of the world and the dreams of Aussie sports kids, coaches and support staff, is now gone, never to return,” he said.
1. The AIS is dead
So sad, a great era is ended. The AIS was the biggest innovation and revolution in Australian sport, the greatest opportunity & service to the most talented & dedicated athlete, coaches, scientists & medicos. It is over #RIPAIS
— Rob de Castella (@deek207) July 31, 2018
Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer spoke to Tim Shaw on 2CC this morning and was adamant Australia cannot return to what may have worked decades ago.
“It’s about creating a new era,” Ms Palmer said. “The era that Deeks is talking about is over. We have to stop looking back to how it was and how successful it was.
“The things that people like Deek have dreamt about years ago is what we dream about. We dream about creating a better future for athletes in this country and Canberra is central to that. The AIS will be central to that.”
Ms Palmer said the world has bypassed Australia and unless something is changed, the country may never regain its position as one of the world’s best.
“Peter Conde [AIS director] has got an extraordinary plan prepared and we are starting to roll that out now,” she said. We will deliver on high-performance outcomes for athletes in this country and the campus is a critical piece.”
“We need to create an environment that is world-class and the world’s best and I think Australia should expect nothing less.”