By Sophie Braham
After placing fourth in Australia this year, and with the Australian University Games in two weeks, Leonora heptathlete Kiara Reddingius, 22, is striving to make ends meet to further her athletics career.
Miss Reddingius, former winner of the Western Australian Professional Athlete of the year award, makes her money by competing on the pro circuit, but says it’s not enough to cover all the costs associated with competing abroad and her medical bills.
Her coach, Matthew Barber, says with proper funding Miss Reddingius could be one of Australia’s top athletes, but sponsorship money is hard to come by.
“You’ve got to be known well enough in Australia to get sponsorship. There’s only money at the top end,” he says.
“I made a lot of money last year, but that still didn’t cover costs at all,” says Miss Reddingius.
“My parents have helped me a lot, and that’s basically the only way I can do it, paying them back whenever I can.”
Miss Reddingius received a small sponsorship from The Shire of Leonora, which paid for her UK trip where she placed second in the British Combined Events Championships.
She met with success overseas and in Australian meets like this one in South Australia last year after only 18 months of training.
Despite that, Mr Barber believes it’s just the tip of the iceberg for their funding trouble.
“Really, there’s not much developmental funding … the heptathlon is even harder, there are only three big pro meets a year. It’s a big reward at the end, but there’s no reward for the steps up,” he says.
“When you’re top ten in Australia, no one knows who you are. And once you’re number one in Australia, you don’t even need the support” says Miss Reddingius.