SYDNEY - The failures of Australia's cricket and rugby union teams have overshadowed some"outstanding" performances on the international sporting stage this year, Australian Sports Commission (ASC) chief John Wylie said on Wednesday.
Nearing the end of the first year of the decade-long "Winning Edge" project to get Australia back to the top of world sport, the commission reported that the country was well on its way to the target of 20 world champions or equivalent.
"It is fair to say in the past 12 months Australia has tracked quite well on the international sporting stage but there is still a lot of work to be done," Wylie said.
"Whilst there has been attention on defeats suffered by Australia's men's cricket and rugby teams, it should not overshadow these other outstanding performances."
The ASC, a government authority which decides on strategy and allocates funding, released a list of 18 champions from 13 different sports on Wednesday led by swimming world champions James Magnussen, Christian Sprenger and Cate Campbell.
The disappointing performance of the swimming team was a major contributing factor to Australia's poor display at last year's London Olympics, where the country finished 10th on the medals table.
The Winning Edge project was subsequently launched late last year with the additional goals of getting Australia back into the top five in the medal's table at the Summer Olympics and Paralympics, top 15 at the Winter Games and number one at the Commonwealth Games.
"Since the launch of Winning Edge, Australian sport is making dramatic changes to get back on top in world sport and I would like to thank the sports for their willingness to critically look at the way they are operating in order to achieve the best possible high performance success," Wylie said.
Wylie was also interviewed in several Australian newspapers on Wednesday, where he said women's sport should be given more attention by the media and more backing by corporate sponsors.
Australia's cricket team lost 4-0 to India and 3-0 to England in test series this year, while the rugby union team were beaten 2-1 in a series against the British and Irish Lions and won just two matches against Argentina in the southern hemisphere's Rugby Championship.
The national men's football team also lost two of its last three matches 6-0 to powerhouses Brazil and France but has qualified for next year's World Cup finals.