Australia pumping in 147,065 per medal to exceed Manchester tally

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Melbourne, Mar 12 (UNI) Hosts Australia are coughing up a mind blowing 147,065 dollars per medal to surpass there Manchester haul in this edition of the Commonwealth Games.

Hosting the 11-day-long ''friendly Games'' has already cost the hosts 740 million Australian dollars and to add to it the amount being pumping in to win the medals is just staggering.

More than 30 million has been ''invested'' into 17 sports in Australia's quest for domination at the Games.

This must be sending shivers down the spines of the Indian sports officials as New Delhi is to host the next edition in 2010.

The Games in which 4500 athletes from 71 countries are taking part will start on Wednesday.

The hosts in their effort to surpass 208 medals won four years ago in Manchester have opened their purses with no strings attached.

Money has been spent lavishly to see that the country retains its standing as sporting kings of the Commonwealth.

In the past 12 months, grants provided by the Australian Sports Commission have resembled telephone numbers, such is their size, according to the ''Daily Telegraph''.

Athletics has received a staggering 3.89 million dollars to succeed in Melbourne. followed by swimming (4.73 million dollars), hockey (4.55 million dollars), basketball (3.81 million dollars), cycling (3.65 million dollars), gymnastics (2.26 million dollars) and shooting (1.24 million dollars).

Australia's total outlay amounts to 30.7 million dollars or 147,065 dollars per medal if they surpass their haul at Manchester.

But the sport under tremendous pressure to perform this year, based on the size of its grant in proportion to return of medals, is athletics. The Australian athletics team will comprise a record 106 competitors.

Though Australia emerged overall leader in the Manchester Games in 2002, but it won only 28 medals in athletics and that has been described as the worst showing in the Games for 16 years and track and field stars are under pressure to perform this time.

National high-performance manager Max Binnington has put the squad on notice, saying last month that some were ''bloody lucky'' to be competing in Melbourne.

''There will be no excuses. We want to be the top nation (in athletics) in the Games. We'll need at least 28 medals to finish top and I'm confident we'll do that. But I'd like to think we can aim for 30 medals,'' he said.

For all the millions pumped into the respective sports, the funding chasm to individuals can be extremely vast.

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