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McGuinty Government Helps Athletes Train to Win

April 15, 2006 – More than 850 of Ontario’s high performance amateur athletes will receive direct financial assistance through the Quest for Gold program, Health Promotion Minister Jim Watson announced Friday.

The $2.9 million in net proceeds from the Quest for Gold lottery will help athletes cover living, training and post-secondary tuition costs.

“This is the kind of support our athletes must have to achieve their full potential,” said Watson. “When our athletes excel they provide valuable role models for athletic achievement.”

Athletes receive approximately $1.9 million of the net proceeds from the lottery in direct financial assistance. The Canadian Sport Centre – Ontario will receive about $558,000 to provide enhanced coaching and the Sports Alliance of Ontario will receive just over $279,000 to facilitate training and competitive opportunities.

“The introduction of the Quest for Gold program demonstrates a strong commitment by the Ontario government to supporting the province’s high performance amateur athletes,” said Jayna Hefford, Olympic Hockey Champion. “This funding will allow me to train at the highest level and help me meet the financial commitments associated with being an amateur athlete.”

More than 6,000 additional athletes will benefit from increased access to better qualified coaches, enhanced training and competitive opportunities. Athletes supported by the Sport Canada program with the senior card designation receive a top-up of $1,500 and those with the development card designation take home $900. The athletes nominated through their Provincial Sport or Multi-Sport Organization receive $2,650.

“I appreciate very much the introduction of this program,” said Linda Shales, mother of Oakville figure skater, Brian Shales. I am extremely pleased to see that the Ontario government is supporting athletes to help them realize their goals in their chosen sport.”

The Ministry of Health Promotion was established in June 2005 to improve and deliver programs that contribute to healthy living and wellness in this province. Key priority areas include Ontario’s anti-smoking strategy, nutrition, physical activity, injury prevention and mental health.

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