Rebecca Wiasak makes every cent count on Olympic Games pursuit

Funding boost: Paratriathlete Katie Kelly, hurdler Lauren Wells, paratriathlete Nic Beveridge and track cyclist Rebecca Wiasak all received government funding on Wednesday. Photo: Jay CronanOlympic Games hopeful Rebecca Wiasak doesn’t know how she will spend her ACT government grant to help her on the road to Rio, but she says every cent makes a difference on the tightrope to reach her dream.

Wiasak was one of 30 Canberra athletes to share in $80,000 funding as they chase their Olympic and Paralympic goals.

Wiasak, a two-time individual pursuit world champion, is hoping to break into the team pursuit to secure her ticket to Rio given her pet event is not part of the Olympic program.

She will go into Cycling Australia camps at the end of next week to ramp up her preparation and has vowed to do everything in her power to clinch a spot.

“I know I’m sitting in the No.6 spot but I’ve got to think anything can happen, especially in cycling,” Wiasak said.

“When you’re striving to be your absolute best and you’re on the edge, pushing the boundaries every day, things happen. I figure I just have to be ready when my opportunity comes.

“The fire has always been in my belly … I know I need to keep proving myself. I still feel like the newby so I’ll keep putting my hand up. There’s no room for complacency If I miss out, this isn’t the road for me.

“I lived for two years on my savings and I’m lucky enough that I’ve been on a Cycling Australia scholarship which gives you a lot of things, but not everything. I’ve always been good with my money, every dollar is accounted for and this is a massive help.”

ACT sport minister Yvette Berry announced the 30-strong contingent of Canberra hopefuls at a function at the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.

They included Wiasak, para athletes Nic Beveridge and Katie Kelly and 400 metre hurdler Lauren Wells.

Canberra athletes who now have government funding compete in a range of Olympic and Paralympic sports including track and road cycling, BMX, athletics, rowing, volleyball, hockey, judo, triathlon and swimming.

Wiasak has been training in Canberra for the past two weeks before rejoining the national squad in Adelaide for a series of camps.

She got a double boost on Wednesday with the funding injection and partner Ben Hill winning the Tour of Thailand as he chases a spot on a professional team.

Wiasak won her second world title in London last month when she beat Poland’s Malgorzata Wojtyra by eight seconds in the individual pursuit final. If she does not make the Rio team, Wiasak will set her sights on Tokyo in 2020.

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