WINNIPEG -- Reigning Canadian curling champion Rachel Homan got two bits of good news on Thursday.
The Ottawa skip advanced to Friday's semifinal at the Canadian Olympic curling trials, and then she learned the federal government had approved funding of more than $2.5 million for the Canadian Curling Association in 2013-14.
"It's hard to make it as an amateur athlete because there's not much money involved and it's not like the pros," said the 24-year-old.
"A lot of times we have to take off work to try and fully train and commit to making it to the Olympics and trying to get Canada gold, so it's nice to have that support in being able to try to get to your dreams and achieve that podium status."
CCA chief executive officer Greg Stremlaw said the government's investment through Sport Canada is similar to the previous year's funding.
"It not only enables the Canadian Curling Association to grow the sport at the grassroots level, but helps our nation establish and maintain consistent podium results and the excellence that is synonymous with Canadian curling," Stremlaw said.
"We sincerely appreciate all that the government of Canada does for sport."
Stremlaw said the money is used for programs involving able-bodied athletes and those with a disability. Funds are allocated for coaching and salaries, national team programs and coaching and officials development.
An Athlete Assistance program funded by the government gave $633,000 to 67 carded curlers in 2012-13 to help with their living and training expenses. The amount will be similar in 2013-14, Stremlaw said.
Homan and her teammates are carded athletes.
The winner of the trials earns a trip to next year's Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.