Wrenny’s Wrants Volume 1

I’d like to welcome A Louder Blog’s first ever guest blogger…Nick Wrenn. Wrenny will be involved in the regular piece on this blog called ‘Wrenny’s Wrants’. Nick will have a rant (or wrant as I’ve called it…who doesn’t love alliteration) and I will have my rebuttal after his rant. So I get the final say (because it’s my blog so I only see that as being fair).

Me and Wrenny - Co-captains of the Australian Team for the Aussie-Kiwi Challenge 2013

Me and Wrenny – Co-captains of the Australian Team for the Aussie-Kiwi Challenge 2013

This week, while it will be foreign to non-water skiers, we tackle the issue of the ultimate team prize for Australian water skiing. The Beynon Shield.

The Wrant…by Nick Wrenn

In any sport one of the biggest greatest achievements for an athlete at a national level is to represent their state. Why? Mainly because it is a sign that they are recognised as the best in the sport, and are rewarded for their achievements by giving them the opportunity to represent their state at a higher level. However, for some reason water-skiing in Australia does not have the same system.

Technically, anyone who skis in the national championships is in their “state-team”. They are already representing their state. I believe however, that to be selected to represent your state in the Beynon Shield competition, should be of the highest privilege and should be reserved for the best skiers in that state, based on their raw scores.

Instead, our Beynon Shield is a competition whereby people are chosen strategically by their state depending on how well they ski in their respective age division. This leaves out the best skiers in the state who may be Open rated, but no-where near the record for that division. This means that a boy in u/14’s who is jumping 30 metres has more chance of getting in their team than an open rated skier jumping 50 metres. I don’t believe that this is fair.

Let’s face it, whoever wins this trophy has the bragging rights as the “best state” in tournament waterskiing. But how can that be true when the scores don’t even come from the best skiers? It just doesn’t make sense.

My solution is a simple one; you pick a team of 4 (or 6) skiers, the same way you would pick your World Championship teams. This would allow a state to include the best slalom, trick and jump male and female skiers of that state, based solely on scores, not age division records. All the people in a “state team” will have their scores pooled into a separate competition, and the overall scores derived from that competition are attributed towards the team score. Slalom scores will need to be adjusted due to varying maximum speeds, which can be solved by deducting 6 buoys for every 3kph difference.

Out of the 200 competitors at last year’s Nationals, I challenge you to find 100 that know the rules of the Beynon Shield, and if they know who is in their own team. The significance of this competition has dwindled ever since I entered the sport, due to its complex rules and varying representation. It’s time to re-vamp the competition and make it a true representation of who actually is the best state in the country. Because at the end of the day, if you truly want to be known as the best state in Australian waterskiing, wouldn’t you want to do so with the best skiers you have?

The Beynon Shield

The Beynon Shield

The Rebuttal…by Joshua Louder

Wrenny does raise some valid points, especially about not many people knowing how the Beynon Shield scoring system works. But am I detecting a little jealously in Wrenny’s Wrant? Just because his home state (Western Australia) haven’t won the Beynon Shield since outboards were used at Nationals doesn’t mean he can criticise the Beynon Shield scoring system.

The scoring system for the Beynon Shield as it stands is to make sure a wide range of different people from different age groups feel included. If we change the Beynon Shield scoring to just count the best skiers we would be moving back to a more elitist system…which is like any other record capable or professional tournament.

I think the real answer here is to actually promote the Beynon Shield competition a bit better. Make sure everyone in the water ski community knows how the Beynon Shield scoring system works. So essentially it is the responsibility of the media team at Tournament Water Ski Australia to dissipate that information to the masses…and yes that’s me.

Ok well here is the Beynon Shield scoring system as it stands straight from the rulebook…

A4.01: Team Selection:

Each State that is affiliated to the AWWF shall have the right to enter a team of skiers, made up of all state skiers who are rated to ski, to represent their State at the National Championships. The Scoring team of 7 skiers shall be nominated to the Chief

Calculator before the commencement of the competition.

As per AWWF TWSA Tournament Rules 10 Oct 2010

A5.05: Team Scoring:

Team scoring – The best three (3) overall scores for each scoring team in each event shall be added together to determine the team score. These scores will be calculated basing the 1000 points on the Division Australian Record as at 31st January of the current season or the

event score from the Nationals, whichever is higher will be used for the 1000 points. In the case of a tie between teams the fourth jump score shall be used, then the fifth and so on until the tie is broken.

Even though New South Wales has won the Beynon Shield for almost a decade, the competition has been as close as ever. The fight for the Beynon Shield next year is set to be the toughest yet.

 

Our Slice of $120 Million

Last week the Australian Sport Commission (ASC) announced its funding allocation for 2013-2014. A large majority of this funding is for sports to deliver on the ‘Winning Edge’ high performance targets. Those targets include:

  • Australia finishing in the top 5 in the Olympics and Paralympics
  • Australia finishing in the top 15 in the Winter Olympics
  • Australia finishing 1st in the Commonwealth Games
  • A total of 20 World Champions every year

The Australian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (AWWF) were allocated $161 000 from the Australian Sports Commission for 2013-2014, this is the same investment allocation the AWWF has gotten for the last 4 years.

I asked CEO of the AWWF, Gary Humphrey, how many divisions this is shared amongst. “It is shared across tournament, barefoot, wakeboard, ski race and we support show ski and cable from general revenue.”

“In essence Tournament Water Ski Australia (TWSA) gets $12 500 for each team heading to a Junior World Championships and Open World Championships and approximately $8 000 – $9 000 per annum for team training. That is around $20 000 per year.”

That means Australian teams going to high class international tournaments such as:

  • Under 21 World Championships
  • Over 35 World Championships
  • Asian-Australiasian & Oceanian Championships (AAO Championships)
  • Annual Aussie/Kiwi Water Ski Challenge

receive little to no money from the ASC.

Tournament water skiing has been a major contributor to the ASC reaching those ‘Winning Edge’ targets with Timothy Bradstreet being crowned Under 21 Mens Overall Champion and Under 21 Mens Jump Champion. Jacinta Carroll being crowned Under 21 Ladies Jump Champion. Not to mention how many AAO Championships and Aussie/Kiwi challenges Australia has won in the last five years. It’s a shame these teams miss out on a large amount of funding from the ASC.

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Australia’s Under 21 Team 2011. The team has three world champions in it – Jacinta Carroll, Timothy Bradstreet and Joshua Briant. Photo: Nicholas Wrenn

The AWWF only get that grant to go towards the high performance program. They miss out on the additional grant to go towards participation due to their “ability to get big numbers after school is very limited.” Humphrey said. “However we will keep trying.” Only six of the fifty-six ASC funded sporting federations don’t receive participation funding, the AWWF is one of them.

It was widely reported that swimming and athletics were paying for the poor performances at the last Olympics by having their Australian Sports Commission funding cut. What didn’t make the headlines were the sports that received significant funding cuts due to the prospect of not being in the Rio Olympics, they included Baseball and Softball. There funding was cut by 37.3% and 33.1% respectively but they still receive well over $1 million of funding for 2013-2014. This goes to show the ASC’s focus on Olympic sports.

Swimming Australia’s funding was cut to $8.1 million which is a 5.8 per cent drop due to their worst performance at an Olympics in 20 years. While Sailing received a 16.7 per cent increase to $6.3 million after being the best performing Australian team in London. AWWF hasn’t seen a boost in funding even after better performances at international events and more world champions in the last three years.

ASC chairman John Wylie said he had spoken to Australian sports officials before the announcement.

“The reaction wasn’t necessarily bursting with enthusiasm, but they do understand the reason why these decisions have been made,” he said.

“Sports understand in tough economic times that… the answer cannot be just to stick the hand out and ask the Government for more money every year.”

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ASC chairman John Wylie announcing the new funding allocation last week. Photo: The Queensland Times

I reluctantly agree with Mr Wylie, although I would like to see water skiing and wakeboarding receive funding that is proportionate to other similar sports. At the moment sports such as Tenpin Bowling, Table Tennis and Orienteering receive more funding from the ASC.

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The biggest Australian water skiing team ever to go overseas received less than $200 per person. Photo: Joshua Louder

Australia’s performances at the last four World Championships

(Tournament Water Skiing)

Australia came 2nd overall at the 2012 Junior World Championships (same as 2010)

  • Joshua Briant Boys Overall Champion, Boys Trick Champion.
  • Stephanie Griffiths 2nd Girls Jump.

Australia came 5th overall at the 2012 Over 35 World Championships (twenty-five places better than 2010)

  • Mark Louder 2nd Over 55 Mens Jump.

Australia came 4th overall at the 2011 Water Ski World Championships (three places better than 2009)

  • Ryan Green 3rd Mens Overall
  • Timothy Bradstreet 2nd Mens Jump
  • Jacinta Carroll 2nd Ladies jump
  • Karina Nowlan 5th Ladies slalom.

Australia came 3rd overall at the 2011 Under 21 Water Ski World Championships (one place better than 2009)

  • Timothy Bradstreet Under 21 Mens Overall Champion, Under 21 Mens Jump Champion
  • Jacinta Carroll Under 21 Ladies Jump Champion, 2nd Under 21 Ladies Overall

Australia’s Winning Edge Investment Allocation Document