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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

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Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) chief executive Chris Overholt has announced over CAD$132 million (£80 million/$98 million/€89 million) will be invested over the next four years to boost the country’s prospects at upcoming Olympic Games.

High performance sport will be provided with CAD$37 million (£22 million/$27 million/€25 million) through their Own the Podium programme, while both the COC and Federal Government are also due to contribute CAD$16 million (£9 million/$11 million/€) each.

It is hoped the investment will fuel the growth and development of the country’s next generation of Olympians.

Overholt also revealed the COC would invest CAN$5 million (£3 million/$3.7 million/€3.4 million) into a new coaching enhancement programme as part of their plan, which has the aim of assisting their National Sport Federations.

It is hoped the funding will help to attract, develop and retain the best coaches in the world.

The Federations, which have enjoyed CAD$10 million (£6 million/$7 million/€6.8 million) in investment over the past four years, will be given an additional CAD$5 million (£3 million/$3.7 million/€3.4 million) in funding up to 2020.

The plans also included CAD$1 million (£600,000/$750,000/€680,000) in funding for Game Plan, a programme aimed at helping transfer into the workforce after retiring from competition, while the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network will receive CAD$2 million (£1.2 million/$1.5 million/€1.3 million).

With the COC stating they expect the overall financial commitment to be over CAND$132 million (£80 million/$98 million/€89 million) for the forthcoming four years, it will represent a 140 per cent increase from their total from 2009 to 2012.

"While we have made great progress, the road ahead requires us to keep raising our game, so that our athletes can continue to raise their own," said Overholt.

"Status quo is never going to be enough to maintain our competitive standing in the world.

"Costs are going up, and we need to be constantly re-evaluating how we are supporting high performance sport in Canada.

"We must find ways to deliver more.

"For our athletes and by extension for our country."

Overholt added that the funding would not have been possible without the support of their corporate sponsors, while he confirmed their organisational structure had been "streamlined" to be in a better position to deliver for athletes.

Canada earned a total of 22 Olympic medals at Rio 2016, earning four gold, three silver and 15 bronze.

The country claimed 10 gold, 10 silver and five bronze medals at Sochi 2014, with further success in Pyeongchang 2018 the next priority.

Overholt also called on the Federal Government to look into their Athlete Assistance Programme, which he claimed was not aiding sustained Olympic medal performance sufficiently, having not been adjusted for inflation in 11 years.

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