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7 Sports 'shocked' at UK Sport decision to reject appeals for Tokyo funding!
UK Sport has defended its decision to reject appeals from GB badminton and six other sports for funding for the next Olympic cycle by warning that if it took "softer decisions now” Britain might end up with a heavily reduced medal haul at Tokyo 2020.
GB Badminton said it was "staggered” by the decision to slash its funding to zero from the £5.9m it received in the four years running up to the Rio Olympics. In addition archery, fencing, goal ball, table tennis, weightlifting and wheelchair rugby are also unhappy about the rejection of their claims for money for the next cycle.
But UK Sport said it would make no apologies for investing only in sports it believes have a realistic medal opportunity at Tokyo 2020 – no matter how brutal it appeared. As Rod Carr, the chair of UK Sport put it: "It depends what you mean by brutal. Would it be more brutal to come back from Tokyo with a heavily reduced medal haul because we took some softer decisions now?”
Carr did, however concede that UK Sport had needed to make tougher decisions than normal because its funding in real terms had been reduced due to the rise in inflation and the weakening of the pound since the Brexit vote. "The reality is we are in a really tight financial situation,” he said. "We have really skinned the cat in terms of looking at our own costs but our money is going less far because we have the cumulative effects of inflation, the costs of sending teams to qualify, and the fall in the pound. I don’t want to get into a Brexit conversation but it’s exactly that. Air tickets, hotels and so on are more expensive. In real terms we have less money.”
Liz Nicholl, the chief executive of UK Sport, has meanwhile insisted the organisation’s no-compromise approach had the public’s backing, adding: "It’s the quantum of medals across a wide range of sports that is something that is considered by a lot of people to be something very significant and it shines a light on something that Great Britain is frankly great at. In surveys, we find people are proud of the royal family, military and Olympic and Paralympic success.”Nicholl also said the organisation will have to find alternative sources of money for the 2024 Olympics because of potential government cutbacks.
"We’ve got a significant government underwrite on this cycle which has shored up our ability to invest in medal success but there is no guarantee of that in the future,” she said. "But one of the big challenges we have is to look at whether there is an alternative funding source that we as a whole system can collectively create which will reduce our dependency on public funding which is something that the government wants us to do. We need to reduce our dependency because we can’t keep going cap in hand to the government.”
UK Sport investment for Tokyo 2020 Olympic cycle (compared with Rio 2016)
Rowing £32.1m (£32.6m) – 100 athletes; Athletics £27.1m (£26.8m) – 76; Sailing £26.2m (£25.5m) – 65; Cycling £25.9m (£30.2m) – 92; Swimming £21.7m (£20.7m) – 54; Canoeing £19m (£20m) – 50; Hockey £18m (£16.1m) – 80; Gymnastics £16.6m (£14.6m) – 53; Equestrian £15.3m (£17.9m) – 65; Boxing £14.6m (£13.7m) – 42; Taekwondo £9.9m (£8m) – 27; Diving £8.8m (£7.4m) – 28; Triathlon £8.1m (£7.4m) – 25; Judo £7.5m (£7.3m) – 22; Shooting £7m (£3.9m) – 11; Modern pentathlon £6.6m (£6.9m) – 18 Paralympic sports Para athletics £11.8m (£10.8m) – 50 athletes; Para swimming £11m (£11.7m) – 42; Para cycling £7.6m (£6.8m) – 28; Wheelchair basketball £6.2m (£5.3m) – 40; Para equestrian dressage £4.2m (£3.7m) – 15; Para rowing £4.2m (£3.8m) – 19; Boccia £3.9m (£3.6m) – 18; Para triathlon £3.9m (£3.1m) – 16; Para canoe £3.7m (£3m) – 15; Para table tennis £3.5m (£3m) – 16; Para archery £3.4m (£2.4m) – 15; Disability shooting £2.4m (£3.4m) – 8; VI judo £2.3m (£2m) – 6; Powerlifting £1.3m (£891k) – 4; Wheelchair fencing £668k (£194k) – 2; Wheelchair tennis TBC (£1.9m) – TBC