- Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games begin six months from today on July 24, 2020
- WAIS opens its doors as athletes prepare to fight for selection in upcoming Australian qualifiers
- Western Australia expected to field 40-45 athletes in the national team
- State Government providing direct-to-athlete financial support for the first time
- Western Australians encouraged to support Australian Olympic Team Appeal
Some of Western Australia's Olympic hopefuls have given an insight into their preparations for Tokyo 2020, with the WA Institute of Sport opening its doors to mark the six-month countdown to the world's biggest sporting event.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games' opening ceremony will be held exactly six months from today - with the State's top athletes now in the final stages of preparations for qualifying.
The final qualifying competitions for all Olympic sports will be held in the coming weeks and months, where WA's athletes will fight for selection against the country's best.
Western Australia is expected to field about 40-45 athletes across a range of sports at Tokyo 2020.
Olympians Blair Evans (swimming), Kurtis Marschall (pole vault), Zoe Arancini (water polo), Rose Stackpole (artistic swimming), and Olympic hopeful Leah Parry (softball) were among those giving an insight into their preparations today.
Qualifying competitions in the whole range of Olympic sports are well underway, with Western Australia set to host a number of major competitions before the Games.
This includes the Australian Swimming Championships at HBF Stadium, a round of the FIH Pro League at Perth Hockey Stadium, and the Jandakot Airport Track Classic at the WA Athletics Stadium.
Sailor Matt Wearn has become the first WA athlete to be selected to the Australian Olympic Team, where he will compete in the Laser class. 2020 has already seen Wearn claim Australian and Oceania titles as part of his Olympic preparation.
This Olympic and Paralympic Games, the State Government is for the first time providing direct financial support to all Western Australian athletes who qualify.
Successful athletes will be able to apply to receive a $4,000 payment direct, which they and their support teams can utilise towards preparations for the Games.
The State Government has also contributed $50,000 to the Olympic and Paralympic Team Appeal - with Western Australians with the means to do so asked to consider making a donation.
Comments attributed to Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray:
"Today we are just six months out from the biggest sporting spectacle in the world, with Western Australia's best athletes now right at the business end of their preparations.
"To represent your country at an Olympic Games is the ultimate achievement for any sportsperson, and the passion and dedication our athletes show is nothing short of remarkable.
"This Olympics, the WA Government has made sure the State's contribution will go direct to Western Australian athletes, with each Olympian and Paralympian able to receive $4,000 to support their journey."
Comments attributed to WA Institute of Sport acting chief executive Jo Richards:
"Today marks six months before the opening ceremony and WA athletes are preparing and training at the WAIS High Performance Service Centre as qualifying and selection trials continue over the coming months.
"WAIS is targeting more than 40 athletes across 16 sports for selection to the Australian Olympic Team for the Games, including Matt Wearn, the first West Australian selected in sailing.
"Brianna Throssell and Sam Welsford could well return from Tokyo with multiple medals. WA representation is expected to be strong across rowing, swimming, athletics and team sports such as hockey, water polo, softball and artistic swimming."
Comment attributed to Chair of the Olympic Team Appeal Committee Andrew Vlahov OAM:
"There are 208 weeks between Olympic Games - our athletes train for 206 of them. That is 99 per cent preparation for one per cent game time. I would like to see us support the aspiration as much as the adoration."
Minister's office - 6552 6400