sport

Deng makes plea for funding

British basketball's biggest superstar Luol Deng has written to David Cameron pleading for UK Sport to restore funding to the sport.

The sport discovered last month it will receive zero funding in the run-up to the Rio 2016 Olympics - a cut of 8.5million compared to the London 2012 cycle.

British Basketball will meet funding quango UK Sport on Wednesday to ask for it to reconsider, and has attracted top-level support from Deng, who plays for the Chicago Bulls in the NBA.

His letter to the Prime Minister states: "We all heard about the 'legacy' that London 2012 was going to bring to sport in the UK and I refuse to sit back and let that legacy be completely demolished for basketball. I, along with other people involved in the game, have put too much in and care too greatly to let this happen.

"The sport of basketball is a pathway, a pathway that teaches so many valuable lessons on and off the court, how are we supposed to motivate these kids to carry along their journey when there's now nothing at the end. No Team GB, no Olympic dream, no goal."

Deng, 27, played for GB's basketball team in the London Olympics. He was born in Sudan, became a British citizen in 2006 and went to school in Croydon, south London and began his career at Brixton Basketball Club.

The player's support has been hailed by British Basketball.

The body's performance chairman Roger Moreland said: "Luol's support for us is massively important. He recognises the value of funding, not just for the elite levels of sport but to carry on investing in grass roots and creating a route for young people to realise their dreams."

British Basketball is also considering lodging a formal appeal to the Sport Dispute Resolution Panel.

Stephen Mosley, MP for Chester, has secured an adjournment debate in Parliament on 'Funding for Basketball' which will take place tonight.