UK & World News

  • 18 December 2012, 10:52

Olympic Sports Await Rio Funding Decisions

Britain's Olympic and Paralympic sports are waiting to hear how much money they will get to help them prepare for the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016.

UK Sport will reveal the critical four-year programme this afternoon with those sports which disappointed at London 2012 facing a cut in their budgets.

Swimming failed to meet its target and there are fears its funding could be slashed under UK Sport's policy of rewarding success.

By contrast cycling, rowing, athletics, judo and canoeing are expecting a financial boost after surpassing their medal and performance targets.

The Government has already announced overall funding for elite sport will be maintained at pre-London levels. Today's announcement is about how the money is to be divided up.

Swimming only won three medals at the London Olympics after UK Sport set a target of five to seven.

The sport has already had three years of funding withheld until it can prove its new blueprint to get more people in the pool is working.

Tennis has also had funding frozen until it improves its plan to boost participation.

Sport England chief executive Jennie Price said: "Tennis has not performed well in terms of participation and is broadly flat, although it got a bit of bounce in the latest figures.

"Their plan simply wasn't strong enough to justify the four-year investment."

Other sports such as cycling, netball and triathlon have enjoyed general funding rises of more than 30%. All of the Paralympic sports have also seen their grants increase.

Pete Eriksson, head coach of UK Athletics' Olympic programme, told Sky News he was confident of getting the amount they need to maintain and build on their past success.

"It's a numbers game," he said. "The more people that come in to the sport the more chances we have of finding the talented athletes that can perform in the future, and with the coaches we have I am convinced that we will.

"I think it's depending on how UK Sport have seen what we've done this year and their belief in the new structure and the new centre that we have. So I think it's all depending on the future rather than the past.

"I think that we will get the funding decision and I'm not too worried that there's going to be less funding to the national team levels compared to what there has been before. I think we'll be fine."

Kenny Barton, world class performance manager at British Volleyball, says UK Sport should not only base its decisions on whether targets have been met but also take a long-term view.

He told Sky News: "It takes a long time to build a team sport. The progress that our teams have made leading up to the Olympic Games this summer has been nothing short of staggering.

"I think we deserve to keep on that path. I understand the rationale behind the system is about medals. We can't guarantee a medal in Rio, but I would hope we could get a medal four years later."