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High performance sport

The Western Australian Government is committed to creating a sports system that allows our athletes to achieve their ultimate potential in both national and international sport.

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The Department of Sport and Recreation works very closely with the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS), other peak bodies and State Sporting Associations (SSAs) to ensure that Western Australia has a strong and viable high performance system. Critical to this are the need for clearly defined athlete and coach pathways that encompass sport development, talent identification and systems for elite athlete performance.

WAIS stands for the Western Australian Institute of Sport. The short form WAIS is now widely recognised with its branding of four disks depicting athlete movement.

High Performance Planning GuideHigh Performance Planning Guide

A guide for State Sporting Associations to deliver and facilitate High Performance program outcomes.

Future Success

A Strategic Plan for High Performance Sport in Western Australia.

In 2002 an Independent Working Group, with secretariat support from the Department of Sport and Recreation compiled ‘Future Success' – A Strategic Plan for High Performance Sport in Western Australia' Beyond 2002.  Through consultation with industry and key stakeholders, twenty two recommendations were highlighted, providing a framework for a comprehensive high performance sports system in Western Australia.

High Performance Unit

In 2006 DSR established a High Performance Unit to support and complement the operations of the WAIS and to build talent development capacity in SSAs. The unit comprises three staff: a senior consultant in High Performance, a Talent Development Consultant and a Regional Talent Development Coordinator.

DSR currently provides a flexible system of consultancy and financial support to targeted SSAs for a variety of high performance initiatives including the following:

  • High performance capacity assessments and system reviews
  • Developing Champions – program to assist the development of aspiring young athletes to gain personal development  and life skills

These support mechanisms are designed to assist SSAs and peak industry bodies to work in partnership with the state government to develop their sport activities. The priorities and needs of organisations – including WAIS, as well as government policy and priorities determine funding allocations and DSR support.

Western Australians at the Olympics

Steve Hooker WA has a proud sporting tradition and very successful Olympic Games history.  Since 1912, Western Australians (376 athletes and 127 officials) have participated at the Summer Olympic Games on 503 occasions.  During this time WA has produced 27 Olympic gold medalists, 30 silver medalists and 29 bronze medalists from the Games.  Between them, these athletes have won a total of 35 Olympic gold medals, 30 Olympic silver medals and 37 Olympic bronze medals. 

In Athens, a record 54 WA athletes transformed their Olympic Dream into reality, returning home with 4 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze medals, a total of 13 medal winning performances from 9 events and across 5 sports (Cycling, Swimming, Rowing, Athletics and Hockey). This reflects the best ever result on the Medal Tally in WA's 92 year Olympic history.

Eamon Sullivan More recently at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, WA contributed 49 athletes and 20 staff from a total Australian team contingent of 433. 

Critical to these achievements is the role that the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS) plays in providing high performance leadership and support to elite athletes and coaches in their home environment.  The Institute based at Challenge Stadium, Mt Claremont, services 14 sports programs and currently employs 55 full-time staff.  Additionally WAIS supports another 140 athletes through their Individual Scholarship Scheme.  In total some 490 athletes are presently gaining benefit from the support of WAIS.

The contribution of the Western Australian Olympic Council (WAOC) which was established in 1947 is also highly significant.  As the peak body for the Olympic Movement in WA and the State Office of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), the WAOC manages activities that focus on generating an acceptance of the Olympic Movement and Olympism into our WA community.  The WAOC also plays a vital role in raising funds to support WA athletes selected to compete in the Olympic Games.

Western Australians at the Paralympics

Brad Scott - Serena Corporate Photography

Images courtesy of Serena Corporate Photography.

West Australian athletes have played a strong role in Australia's Paralympic success ever since the Paralympic Games were held for the first time in 1960.

Five WA athletes formed part of the first Australian Team that competed at the 1960 Paralympic Games, held in Rome, and in the 12 Paralympics that have followed, athletes from WA have gone on to form a proud tradition of achievement on the Paralympic stage.

Not only have WA athletes won medals at every Paralympic Games, the West can also lay claim to some of the greatest Paralympians Australia has ever produced.

Michael Hartnett - Serena Corporate PhotographyWith 19 medals to his credit — five gold, seven silver and seven bronze medals— swimmer Kingsley Bugarin holds the record for the most medals won by an individual in Australia's history at the Paralympic Games, while Priya Cooper (Swimming) and Louise Sauvage (Athletes) remain equal second on the all-time list of Australia's highest gold medal winning athletes. Both ladies won nine gold medals in their glittering careers.

Cooper secured her golden haul along with three silver and four bronze medals from three Paralympic Games between 1992 and 2000, while Sauvage picked up four silver medals as well as her nine gold from four Paralympic appearances between 1992 and 2004.

But while Bugarin, Cooper and Sauvage are the most prolific medal winners that have hailed from WA, Australia's Paralympic history is brimming with outstanding performances from numerous athletes from the West.

At the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, 19 WA athletes competed and returned home with 10 medals, helping Australia finish fifth on the medal tally.

Katrina Porter - Serena Corporate PhotographyThe WA haul was led by Perth swimmer Katrina Porter, Cyclist Tyson Lawrence and Australia's victorious men's wheelchair basketball team containing WA athletes Justin Eveson, Michael Hartnett, Brad Ness and Shaun Norris, who all returned home with Paralympic gold in their possession.

Grant Boxall (wheelchair rugby), Darren Gardiner (powerlifting), Rachael Cox (sailing), Brad Scott (Athletics) and Madison De Rozario (athletics) each won a silver medal while six fellow West Australians won bronze medals. They included the Perth-based Sonar team of Graeme Martin, Colin Harrison and Russell Boaden (Sailing), Australian women's wheelchair basketballers Clare Burzynski and Cobi Crispin, and Lawrence, who acted a sighted pilot for vision impaired South Australian cyclist Kieran Modra.



Contact details for High performance sport

Brendan Cullinan
246 Vincent Street, LEEDERVILLE WA 6007
Telephone (08) 9492 9744
Facsimile (08) 9492 9711
Email Brendan

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