The budget cuts are at it again with another big cut for women’s sport.
Cycling Australia have confirmed that they’ve decided to ‘suspend’ their development program for up-and-coming female road professionals. The confirmation comes as part of yet another onslaught of budget cuts that seem to only be affecting women. And again – finance is the
Kevin Tabotta, Cycling Australia’s boss has told the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) that it’s not about gender discrimination – and that the program was cut last Saturday with a hope that it will return.
“The program has been suspended until further notice … and purely for financial reasons,” Tabotta told the Sydney Morning Herald.
But the decision has shocked some of Australia’s female cycling elite.
“I was shocked about this,” Australian cyclist Rochelle Gilmore told SMH.
“I worry that the fact there’s no carrot dangling there for them means we could lose a lot of women.”
The program that has been culled was an AIS-funded development program that trained female cyclists intensively for six months in Europe. It gave the athletes an unrivalled exposure to what it’s like riding on an elite racing circuit. It was an invaluable experience that has now been stripped from aspiring female cyclists.
Before the cuts the training program had already been heavily reduced from six months to six weeks, but at least the girls were gaining some world stage exposure. Now – nothing, zip, nada. It’s sad. It’s a place that has made the likes of Australian cycling greats Sara Carrigan and Oenone Wood.
A Facebook page by Destroy the Joint has taken action against the cuts – petitioning for people to send their own messages to Cycling Australia.
The responses have shown a lot of people’s anger toward the cycling organisation.