Call for funding works a treat

Astrid Radjenovic believes she may end up with a shortfall of up to $30,000 despite the promise of more funding from the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia.
Astrid Radjenovic believes she may end up with a shortfall of up to $30,000 despite the promise of more funding from the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia. Contributed

AN impassioned plea by two-time Winter Olympian Astrid Radjenovic for a financial lifeline has been answered, ending months of uncertainty about her future and rejuvenating her push to compete at a third Games.

Olympic Winter Institute of Australia chief executive Geoff Lipshut contacted the former Sunshine Coast resident yesterday to reveal she would receive a funding increase.

The world No.12 received $7500 in Australian Olympic Committee funding last season but found herself further burdened by debt when her personal sponsor, Energy watch, abruptly ended their arrangement without explanation in March.

The veteran pilot - known by the surname Loch-Wilkinson before her marriage to Serbian international bobsleigh pilot Vuk Radjenovic - does not yet know how much money she will receive, but believes she may still be left with a funding shortfall of between $20,000 and $30,000.

Radjenovic hopes to find a new sponsor to meet some or all of that shortfall, saying she needs about $80,000 a season to be comfortable.

The funding-boost announcement followed her decision to issue a press release on Wednesday explaining her dire plight and bemoaning the lack of financial support she received.

"I don't know the extent of the funding, and obviously they're not going to give me the full funding immediately," she said.

"I need to prove myself this year with some minimum funding.

"It's really a huge relief. I felt a big weight lifted off my shoulders. It caused me a lot of stress over the last couple of months, being uncertain about the future."

The veterinarian, a competitor at the past two Winter Olympics, at Turin and Vancouver respectively, is on course to represent Australia at the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia after an excellent 2011-12 season.

Competing on a risible budget compared to the leading nations and without the services of a world-class brake woman, she finished in 11th place on the World Cup standings after compiling four top-10 finishes.

"I have worked myself into the ground to get the team finally placing in the top 10 at World Cup level," she said.

"I felt that this achievement, despite no funding compared with all (the) other teams and winter sports, would prove what potential we have for a medal at Olympic level."

Topics:  bobsleigh

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