sport

UK Sport cuts swimming funding

UK Sport has announced an 11% increase in Olympic and Paralympic sports funding until 2016, with cuts to swimming and basketball among others.

Volleyball and handball are also paying the price for failure, with severe cuts to their income.

UK Sport announced a record pot of 347m to be distributed in the run-up to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games with cycling, rowing, boxing, athletics and gymnastics among those given increases.

It is a different story for those sports that did not meet their performance targets in London including swimming, whose funding is cut to 21.4m from 25.1m, volleyball (down to 400,000 from 3.5m), plus basketball, handball, wrestling and table tennis, which miss out on funding altogether.

UK Sport's target is for Britain to be even more successful in Rio than in London, where the teams won 65 medals in the Olympics and 120 in the Paralympics.

The funding body's chief executive Liz Nicholl said: "We want to be the first nation in recent history to be more successful in the Olympics and Paralympics post-hosting."

UK Sport's chairman Sue Campbell admitted some sports would be devastated by the news.

She added however: "It isn't about being popular it's about making tough decisions about where public money goes."

The biggest increase of any Olympic sport goes to boxing, a 44% increase, to 13.8m, though 9.55m is conditional on sport sorting out some internal issues.

Cycling is up to 30.6m from 26.3m, athletics has a 1.7m increase to 26.8m, rowing up from 27.3m to 32.6m, and gymnastics up from 10.8m to 14.5m.

Investment in Paralympic sport also rises dramatically, up 43% on London 2012.

Nicholl added that swimming had been braced for bad news. She said: "It won't be a surprise because we and they were disappointed that they didn't perform in London. They will get there.

"It's not a punishment - we don't punish.

"Today will be good news for some and it will be painful for others who haven't met the criteria.

"It's not been easy sharing these decisions with them today. They are very disappointed but I think some of these sports have to improve their base, their competition structure, and drive up competition before they can really compete for medals at a world level.

"We have been guided by our no-compromise approach.

"I hope the sports that have been hit today will go to sports like hockey and gymnastics and talk to them about how they have got back to where they are today.

"Hockey had their funding cut (in the past), they went bust, they were in dire straits and they have done amazingly well to recover."

Some sports including swimming and boxing are only having one year's funding guaranteed and have to prove to UK Sport they are on the right track to secure the remaining three years.

Nicholl said: "There are a small group of sports who are having a one-year review. But we have issued a four-year funding planning figure so the message is that we want you to succeed.

"Specifically with swimming there are outstanding appointments to be made. They are leaderless at the moment in terms of performance. There is no performance director. There is no head coach at this point in time.

"Those appointments have to be made and then come back to us and convince us that they are now settled, focused and can achieve their real potential in Rio and then we will invest for the remaining three years."