WA athletes get funding boost to support sporting goals

03 July 2017
Four of Western Australia's best athletes have been selected as ambassadors for State Government sport and entertainment venue operator, VenuesWest, as part of a program to highlight the role venues play in developing our elite sportspeople.

Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray will today launch the VenuesWest Brand Ambassador Program at HBF Stadium, with each athlete to receive $5,000 to assist with their training and competition expenses.

Each ambassador has competed at the highest levels for Australia and is based at a VenuesWest venue.

VenuesWest operates 13 of Western Australia's premier sport and entertainment venues on behalf of the State Government and directly supports WA's high performance athletes as they strive to compete on the world stage.

The ambassadors are:

Stephen Bird – kayak

Steve, who trains at Champion Lakes Regatta Centre, competed at the 2012 London Olympics Games and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. He is now working towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Stephen Bird of Australia competes in the Men's Kayak Single 200m Finals on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Lagoa Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Nikita Hains – diving

Nikita, who trains at HBF Stadium, took up diving four years ago and was selected for the Junior National Championships just two years later before joining the Australian team at the beginning of 2016. Nikita is striving for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Amber Merritt – wheelchair basketball

Amber, who trains at Bendat Basketball Centre, won a silver medal at the 2012 London Paralympic Games and is now aiming for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Amber Merritt of Australia shoots during the Women's Semi Final Wheelchar Basketball match between USA and Australia on day 8 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Basketball Arena on September 6, 2012 in London (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Brianna Throssell swimming

Brianna, who trains at HBF Stadium, competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics Games and is currently aiming for 2018 Commonwealth Games selection while also focusing on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Brianna Throssell of Australia competes in the first Semifinal of the Women's 200m Butterfly on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Comments attributed to Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray:

"The Brand Ambassador Program champions the dreams of four high performance athletes through direct financial assistance towards their training and competition expenses.

"It is my hope that young and aspiring athletes can look to these ambassadors for inspiration and encouragement towards their own sporting goals.

"With the Commonwealth Games being held in Australia in 2018, the launch of this program is fitting recognition of the support VenuesWest offers to some of the State's best athletes.

"VenuesWest delivers nearly $3 million annually to elite sport."