UK splashes cash in bid for 2014 success

UK splashes cash in bid for 2014 success

LONDON - Reuters
UK splashes cash in bid for 2014 success

Jessica Ennis competes during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. UK Sport announced it would spend 347 million pounds for more Olympic success. AFP photo / Adrian Dennis

Britain has targeted an improvement on its London 2012 medal haul in Rio in four years with UK Sport announcing an 11 percent rise in funding for elite sport.

Government-funded UK Sport will invest 347 million pounds in 42 Olympic and Paralympic sports leading up to 2016 Rio, with cycling and rowing the biggest beneficiaries as reward for their performances in London this year.

Several sports are effectively on report, however, while other minority sports have been cast adrift completely under UK Sport’s “no compromise” policy.

Swimming, in which Britain performed poorly at the Olympics, is one of four sports that has been told must improve its performance to receive its full four-year funding package while boxing, despite a strong showing from the British team at London 2012, has also been told to solve organisational issues.

Basketball, handball, volleyball, table tennis and wrestling will all receive no UK Sport funds in the build-up to Rio.

No country has ever improved on its host-country performances at the next Games and Britain’s sports have been given ambitious targets after winning 65 medals in the Olympics, finishing a best-ever third in the medals table, and 120 in the Paralympics.

“Our announcement today is unprecedented, as we increase investment in British sport post our home Games and aim to achieve something no other host nation in recent history has before,” Baroness Sue Campbell, Chair of UK Sport, said. “London 2012 was just the beginning, not the end, for Olympic and Paralympic sport in this country.”

Ambitious project

UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl acknowledged that surpassing London 2012 is “ambitious” and said it was necessary for some sports to have their funding pulled.

“Our no compromise approach is investing in the best and emerging talent. It’s good news for a very significant number of sports and athletes but some will be disappointed,” she said. “It’s painful for some but they haven’t met our investment criteria.”

A total of 276.4 million pounds will be invested in British Olympic sports for the Rio cycle, a five percent rise, while Paralympic sports will benefit from a 43 percent increase.

British Basketball’s performance chairman Roger Moreland reacted to their funding being pulled. “We knew the criteria, but having been funded to the tune of 8.5m in the lead up to the London Olympics because of the medal potential for the future, this is a devastating decision and is a waste of that investment,” he said in a statement.