Wherever there’s money, there are winners and losers and despite a looming global and national recession there is still plenty of dosh floating around in the UK’s Olympic and Paralympic system, writes Tom Harle.
UK Sport have announced a guarantee of Tokyo 2020 funding and a record £352m to be distributed to 43 sports for Paris 2024.
So which sports feel hard done by, and for which has Christmas come early?
WINNERS: “This is a game-changer.”
Having finished fifth at the Rio Paralympics, Wheelchair Rugby had to find sponsors on JustGiving and hold charity events after funding was cut from £3m to zero in late 2016.
They will now receive £2.6m from 2021 to 2025.
“We will do everything we can to deliver on the faith placed in us and lift ourselves from fourth in the world to a medal position,” said GB Wheelchair Rugby CEO David Pond.
Despite meeting its Rio medal target, Badminton was stripped of all Tokyo funding.
The sport has been reinstated for Paris 2024, awarded £3.15m for their Olympic athletes and £1.1m for Paralympic provision.
Badminton England CEO Adrian Christy said: “We are confident that we have players who are capable of achieving podium places in 2024 and have always believed in our talent.”
A lack of UK Sport backing for Basketball, a highly popular participation sport, has been a long-running sore and they are one of 10 sports in receipt of new Progression Funding.
After the women’s team were allocated £330,500 to attempt to qualify for Tokyo 2020 and British Basketball given COVID-19 relief funding, they will now get £1.35m from the Progression pot.
“This money allows us to have a longer-term strategy to re-establish the national governing body after a difficult financial period,” said BBF interim chair Toni Minichiello.
Having been confirmed for Paris 2024 this month, Skateboarding is one of seven Progression sports alongside fellow Olympic newbies climbing and surfing.
“This is a game-changer for the sport and will enable us to work with the skateboarding community to build the foundations of talent and world-class performance programmes that complement the culture of skateboarding,” said SkateboardGB CEO James Hope-Gill.
Britain’s Archery athletes exceeded expectations in 2019 with the women’s team winning bronze at the World Championships and Jess Stretton taking silver at the World Para Archery Championships.
That has been rewarded with the biggest increase for a sport remaining on the World Class Programme, a 129% lift to £2,134,257
“We’re pleased our efforts and hard work over the last few years have been recognised,” said Olympic Director David Tillotson.
LOSERS: “This decision has left us perplexed about the lack of parity.”
Canoeing funding has been reduced by a quarter, particularly in the sprint programme.
It comes hot on the heels of the controversial ICF decision to cut the sprint discipline in which Britain’s Liam Heath is reigning Olympic champion.
“This is not unexpected,” said Performance Director Paul Ratcliffe.
“We have some rebuilding to do within the sprint discipline. We will be launching a new sprint racing performance strategy in early 2021, which sets out plans to increase participation.”
This is extremely disappointing news, especially given the strategic vision we have Jack Buckner, British Swimming
Judo envisage having to make significant cuts to their Visually Impaired programme after their Paralympic athletes lost over half of their funding.
The decrease comes despite VI athlete Chris Skelley being ranked world number one.
“The reduction in funding will make our evolution considerably more difficult, but we will still find a way to deliver the best programme for our fighters,” said Performance Director Nigel Donohue.
Modern Pentathlon are ‘urgently’ seeking clarification on why their funding has been reduced by 20% to just under £4.4m and have already signalled intent to appeal.
The sport, which has been crunched into a 90-minute elimination format for Paris 2024, has delivered medals for Team GB at four of the last five Olympic Games.
“This decision has left us perplexed about the lack of parity there seems to be across the sports receiving this crucial funding,” said Pentathlon GB CEO Sarah Heath in a strongly-worded statement.
“We absolutely refute the notion that the reduction in funding is at all reflective of what our world class programme at Pentathlon GB has proven to be capable of, nor the high ethical and operational standards we uphold across our whole organisation.”
Britain’s Artistic Swimming duet of Katie Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe will receive Aspiration Funding for Tokyo but have had their funding removed for Paris 2024, with Water Polo also missing out.
“This is extremely disappointing news, especially given the strategic vision we have for the sport and the success of our duet,” said British Swimming CEO Jack Buckner.
“That being said, feedback for both of these disciplines was positive and we hope to have the opportunity to successfully bid for other investment in the future.”