The state of Tasmania could compete as a stand-alone team at international sporting competitions such as the Commonwealth Games following a proposal tabled in state parliament.
The proposal would see the self-funded team travel, stay and compete under the banner of ‘Tasmania’ and compile their own medal tally, in direct competition with the Australian team.
“It’s time Tasmania stood on its own two feet internationally…” read an excerpt from the proposal.
“…this state has produced so many great athletes like Australian record holder David Boon, Richie Porte, Ricky Ponting and… well, the list is endless.
However, they are always denied the chance to represent the state of their birth, their homeland, in international competitions, because they always compete for Australia. We believe a team called ‘Tasmania’, or ‘The Devils’, could achieve great things at international level.”
The finer details of the plan have yet to be made public because the proposal is still under the scrutiny of bodies such as the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association.
Questions have also been raised over the status of scholarships held by Tasmanian athletes at federally funded sports institutes or academies.
The AOC released a short statement in response, promising to give the proposal due consideration in light of an existing precedent.
“The United Kingdom operates a similar system by which member nations compete as separate entities at the Commonwealth Games and this system could, perhaps, be implemented in the case of Tasmania. However, just like our British counterparts, we would call upon all of our athletes to unite under one banner at the Olympic Games in order to maximize our medal winning potential.”
Meanwhile, former Australian test batsman David Boon has declared his support for the proposal.
“As a proud Tasmanian, I think it’s a great idea and I fully support it” declared the former star batsman.
“I’ve even contacted various airlines and beverage companies to see if we can get some financial support for the proposal.”