March 2/06 11:06 am - National Team Program Clarification
Posted by Editor on 03/2/06
National Team Program Clarification
Kris Westwood, High Performance Director at the CCA has responded to our comments on the 2006 National Team Program announcement (see Daily News March 2/06 8:00 pm EST):
It is true that it is confusing that athletes such as Eric Wohlberg and Mat Toulouse are on the B list, when the focus of the B list athletes is supposed to be the 2012 Games. It is my fault for not making the distinction that the B list also includes athletes likely to help Canada qualify for the 2008 Games but who are not currently performing in the top 16 of the world. In other words, these athletes merit support from the CCA because of their contribution to our international ranking, but they are not quite at the "A" level of performance. We will see how these definitions stand up during the year and make adjustments for '07 as needed. As you can imagine, measuring and comparing performances in four disciplines, three age categories and Paralympic programs is no simple task.
As you point out, the weighting on top-16 performances is not fair, particularly in men's road, due to the huge variations in the international depth of talent in the various disciplines. However, in allocating funding Sport Canada measures national sport organizations based on the number of medal, top-8 and top-16 results they produce, and if we can't perform at this level in one discipline then our funding suffers as a result. From Sport Canada's standpoint, if we can easily make top-16 in one discipline but we can't even crack the top 50 in another, why bother with the latter? We all know intuitively that sport development can't be quite this simple, but we don't make the rules. This is a strong argument for seeking private sector funding for our programs so we can focus on what we feel is most important for the long-term development of the sport in Canada, and we are in fact working on this, but for the time being we are bound by the system we belong to.
As stated in the release, we are in a period of transition and our programs may not be perfect in 2006 but I believe they are a big step in the right direction.