UK Sport confirms record number of sports vying for medal success in Rio and TokyoSubscribe
UK Sport 19 March 2014
UK Sport has today confirmed 37 sports have been identified as having realistic medal potential for the Rio 2016 or Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games – demonstrating the increasing strength of the high performance system.
Following representations to the UK Sport Board opposing the Annual Investment Review decisions taken in February, which saw seven sports withdrawn from funding and the money reinvested in 18 Olympic and Paralympic sports to enhance and protect their medal prospects, the following outcomes have been agreed:
- Weightlifting has been reinstated on to the World Class Programme after presenting a new performance strategy targeting resources on their best female athletes
- Badminton has had a Podium place re-instated
- Decision to withdraw funding from six sports (Basketball, Goalball, Synchronised Swimming, Visually-Impaired Football, Water-Polo (Women) and Wheelchair Fencing) will stand
UK Sport is strategically investing around £350million of National Lottery and Exchequer funds into preparing Great Britain’s best athletes for Rio 2016 with the goal of becoming the first nation to be more successful in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games post hosting.
Rod Carr, Chair of UK Sport, said: "Through our representations process we are able to give sports the opportunity to present their case to our Board to reconsider the decisions announced in February. We have listened to all the sports and thank them all for presenting their cases so professionally and passionately.
"The starting point for UK Sport and the Board is that we want to be able to invest in as many Olympic and Paralympic sports as possible but they must be able to credibly demonstrate medal winning potential within eight years.
"Weightlifting came back to us with a compelling new strategy focussed on developing their most talented female athletes with a view to challenging for medals by Tokyo 2020.
"For the sports that are not yet at the level that we can continue to fund them it’s important to recognise the vast majority of them do still benefit from other sources of considerable public funding driving participation and improving talent development through the Home Country Sports Councils.
"I accept that by its very nature 'No Compromise' is not universally popular but there’s one thing we are sure of – it works. The recent outstanding successes at the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games demonstrated once again that investing the right money, in the right athletes, for the right reasons, is a winning formula."
The outcome of the representation process means there are now 20 Olympic and 17 Paralympic Summer sports receiving investment for the Rio cycle with the goal to achieve what no host nation has done before and win more Olympic and Paralympic medals in the next games.
Liz Nicholl, Chief Executive of UK Sport, said: "Thirty sports won medals at London 2012 and over the remaining years of this Rio cycle UK Sport will be investing in 37 sports with credible medal potential for 2016 or 2020. This is a really positive demonstration of the incredible progress of the UK’s high performance system since National Lottery funding came on stream.
"If the nation values sporting success we can deliver it, but only if we remain focussed, as the Olympic and Paralympic environment is becoming increasingly competitive. I am confident our approach will continue to deliver more wonderful moments to inspire the nation.
"These are tough calls to make and we know that it is even tougher for the sports and athletes directly affected by funding withdrawal. All of these sports know that they have the opportunity to come back to us at the annual review stage each Autumn to make a case for future funding if they can demonstrate a realistic opportunity to win a medal within the next two Olympic or Paralympic cycles.
"We will also work with these sports that are now not funded for the Rio cycle to help manage this transition, and shape their future plans."
Although not obliged to offer the chance of representations this has formed part of UK Sport’s approach to open dialogue with all sports through the Rio investment process.