New research unveiled today reveals that 66% of the British public believe that without National Lottery funding through UK Sport, the British team would not be able to achieve tenth place or higher in the Olympic Games medals table and 41% believe that Britain will definitely make the top 10 in the medals’ table.
The National Lottery has awarded over £65 million to summer Olympic sports to help Britain’s top competitors achieve their aspirations in Athens. This investment has provided the team with some of the world’s best coaches, training facilities including the recent BOA training camps in Barcelona and Cyprus, medical support staff and personally tailored funding programmes. 50% of the British public questioned believe that without Lottery funding the British team in Athens would not be as well prepared as they are for the Olympic Games.
Top British 400m hurdler Chris Rawlinson says that the support of the British public and the National Lottery is crucial to his preparations: "I don’t think that all the public necessarily realise that when they play the Lottery, they are helping athletes like myself rehabilitate in time to compete at events like the Olympics"
The message is reinforced by British weightlifter Michaela Breeze: "Thank you to all of those people who play the Lottery week in, week out. They are helping myself and many other athletes keep our dreams of Olympic success alive."
All of the British team, including the Paralympians, have benefited from the £3 billion of Lottery investment in sport since the National Lottery began. The £3 billion has funded projects from grassroots and community to elite performance programmes.
Olympic rower Ed Coode believes that Lottery support has been crucial to the development of British sport: "I think that Lottery funding was responsible for two out of the three medals at the Olympic Games in Sydney. It has also been vital to support the efforts of Matthew Pinsent, James Cracknell, Steve Williams and myself as we aim for a gold medal in Athens."
In the four year Olympic cycle since Sydney, the National Lottery has invested over £230 million in elite sport assisting over 600 sportsmen and women in all sports.
Funding is distributed by UK Sport via the World Class Performance Programme which is designed to develop the athlete and provide them with all the necessary elements to perform and win at the highest level.
Money invested in the Programme is used to fund: world class coaches; sports science and medicine back-up; warm weather training and acclimatisation opportunities; competing at International competitions (including travel and accommodation); athlete development programmes; appropriate training facilities; and the post of a Performance Director to bring all these elements together. In addition, athletes on the Programme are eligible for athlete personal awards which act as a contribution towards basic living costs, personal training and sports equipment costs.