Some Olympic athletes are turning to the internet to help pay their travel bills. The Australian Men’s Handball Team is one group that’s using crowdfunding to reduce the costs that come with pursuing an Olympic dream.
CCTV’s Greg Navarro reports.
Aussie handballers use crowdfunding to pay for Olympic dreamSome Olympic athletes are turning to the internet to help pay their travel bills. The Australian Men’s Handball Team is one group that’s using crowdfunding to reduce the costs that come with pursuing an Olympic dream. CCTV’s Greg Navarro reports.
Handball is a sport that can be extremely fast and tough to describe.
“It’s a combination of water polo, ice hockey and basketball. Run, jump, pass, shot, moving your whole body,” Thomas Szklarski from Australian Men’s Handball Team said.
But there’s one thing that you won’t find with the sport of handball in Australia, a lot of support, specifically, financial support.
The last time Australia’s national team qualified for the Olympics was in 2000 in Sydney given an automatic spot as the host nation.
“I think the Australian Olympic Committee, their funding is based on medal chances and obviously for us, we are a long way from a medal so we are not going to get any funding,” Caleb Gahan from Australian Men’s Handball Team said.
When Australia’s national team players wanted to go to the Olympic qualifying tournament last year in Qatar, they were faced with a daunting obstacle. Szklarski said they had to collected $200,000 for everyone to go there.
Too much for some of the national team players who train here with the Sydney Uni handball club, and work full-time jobs.
The team launched its crowdfunding campaign on the website ‘Go fund me’.
One of the biggest donations to the Australia team’s fund didn’t come from Australia, it came from Germany, from another handball club.
That donation led to a lot of exposure in Europe where the sport is popular, and a lot more money.
The Australian Men’s National Team raised more than $10,741 for the trip but failed to qualify for the Rio Games.
The team already has its sights set on the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, and said crowdfunding will continue to play an important role.
“We are famous for that we never give up and we proved that through the sport,” Szklarski said.
And for the way they think on their feet when it comes to jumping over financial hurdles.