UK Sport, the nation’s high performance sports agency, has today announced a £750,000 cash injection, funded by the Team 2012 presented by Visa programme, to be invested in the final 100 days of Olympic preparation and 133 of Paralympic preparation, and boost Britain’s medal hopes for London 2012.
Today’s additional award, adding to the existing £312 million investment of National Lottery, Government Exchequer and Team 2012 funds into Britain’s sports and athletes for the current Olympic cycle, is aimed at giving sports the opportunity to invest in additional opportunities to fine tune their preparations for the Games.
The investment in each sport is roughly equivalent to £1000 per athlete that will be selected for the Games, and, after submitting a business case to UK Sport for this additional money, most sports have opted to invest in three key areas in order to enhance their final preparations;
- Additional training camps and competitions – for example the GB Men’s Hockey team will now be travelling to the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia in May and the GB Men’s Water Polo team will now be inviting Italy, the current World Champions, to attend their preparation camp ahead of the Games to gain competitive experience against a top team
- New kit or equipment – for example the British Wheelchair Tennis team are investing in protective wheelchair covers to keep players’ chairs in top condition when they travel and the British Cycling team will be investing in a rest and recovery package for their athletes for use both up to and during the Games, such as white noise generators and posture control, reading and relaxation chairs
- Supplementary expertise in coaching, science or medical backup – for example the GB Synchronised Swimming team will be able to access the expertise of an internationally renowned choreographer and coach and British Cycling will be investing in more soft tissue therapy support for their BMX and track cyclists
This investment in British Olympic and Paralympic sports will play a crucial part in supporting the British team’s preparations for London 2012. Team 2012 additionally helps to fund support programmes run by the British Olympic and Paralympic Associations and over the remaining days to the Games, fundraising efforts will continue in a bid to ensure Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic teams are the best prepared in history.
Sir Matthew Pinsent, four time Olympic gold medallist and Chairman of the Team 2012 Appeal, said: “Team 2012 exists so that, come Games-time, athletes are in a position where they can say to themselves ‘Everything is in place, I’m in the shape of my life and I couldn’t possibly be better prepared.’
“The extra Team 2012 funding awarded by UK Sport to our Olympic and Paralympic sports today marks the final 100 days of preparation before the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games and will be used to give our athletes an extra boost. To help ensure no stone is left unturned in the pursuit of excellence, we’ll be continuing our fundraising efforts in these crucial final days and hope to raise £20million in total to support the preparations of Olympic and Paralympic athletes this summer.
“From providing extra training camps and competition experience, to new equipment or additional sports science and medical support, this money will ensure a fantastic platform on which to send ‘Our Greatest Team’ to the Games.”
Liz Nicholl, Chief Executive of UK Sport, said: “I am delighted to be able to offer our sports this additional investment for them to seek out key opportunities to boost their final 100/133 days of preparation and help give our athletes a winning edge come Games time.
“British athletes are among the best funded and supported in the world and UK Sport is hugely grateful to the Team 2012 supporters, as well as The National Lottery and our Government for their incredible support for our ambitions for success at our home Games in London.”
Charlie Bethel, British Wheelchair Basketball Chief Executive, said: “The Team 2012 Visa programme has enabled our teams to ensure they are fully prepared for the Games in London this year, the additional support that we will receive will get us over the line and guarantee that the holding camps will provide both teams with much needed competition against quality countries to warm up against.
“The extra money will also allow the team to purchase equipment such as the Gun Shooting machines, they use these in the USA to simulate game situations for shooting and rebound practices. Being able to purchase something like that for the GB players to practice will hopefully give them the edge in games and, who knows, even go towards that game winning basket.
“It has really allowed us to make that final push we needed and we would like thank everyone who has shown their support to our teams through Team 2012 and we hopefully will be able to repay this support with some first class results in London”
Ian Drake, British Cycling’s Chief Executive, said: “At the final stages of preparations for the Games, it is more important than ever that our riders are surrounded by everything they need to get them to the start line in the best possible shape and fully focused on the job in hand.
“Through this additional Team 2012 investment we’re able to increase the level of soft tissue therapy available to our track and BMX riders in the run-up to the Games at our home in Manchester.
“Our Olympic team will also benefit from a tailored rest and recovery package for use at the preparation camp and during Games time. Furthermore, our Paralympic riders will be able to access additional altitude training sessions which has already proved their worth particularly for the road team. All of this has the potential to boost performance at this crucial stage and we thank Team 2012 for their continued support.”
Tim Jones, British Gymnastics Olympic Performance Director: "We are extremely thankful of this Team 2012 support. This will ensure that our pre-Olympic preparation camp plans for our Artistic gymnasts can be fulfilled, our Trampoline representative in London will have the best competition preparation possible in the lead into the Games, and our Rhythmic gymnasts can be comprehensively supported at their forthcoming European Championships.”
David Faulkner, GB Hockey Performance Director, said: “We are extremely grateful to Team 2012 for providing the additional funding to support the final preparation for our men’s and women’s teams going into London. With the men having no Champions Trophy before the Games, they have taken up an invitation to the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia. The women have now been able to complete a tailored leadership programme to compliment previous work with the Royal Marines that focused on leadership, teamwork and coping under pressure. The decisions to take up these opportunities have been made because of Team 2012 and we believe they are fundamental to the two teams’ final preparations for London 2012.”
David Tanner, British Rowing Performance Director: “We are delighted to accept this additional funding from Team 2012. This has allowed us to invest in some bio-mechanical equipment which will be of considerable use to our adaptive squad who did not have their own as they train towards this year’s Paralympic Games.”
Geraint Richards, Head of Disability Player Performance at the Tennis Foundation: “We are very grateful for the extra funding from Team 2012 and the National Lottery at such a crucial time for our wheelchair tennis performance team in the run up to the London 2012 Paralympics. We will be using the money towards our match analysis programme and also purchasing some protective wheelchair covers to keep the players’ chairs in top condition when they travel.”
Team 2012 is a joint venture created in 2008 between the four key organisations leading British Olympic and Paralympic sport; UK Sport, the British Olympic Association, the British Paralympic Association and LOCOG. It is the official sponsorship and fundraising programme for the 1,200 British athletes across the Olympic and Paralympic sports on UK Sport’s World Class Performance Programme, many of whom are striving to be selected for Team GB and ParalympicsGB at London 2012, supplementing the existing investment provided by UK Sport from The National Lottery and the Government.
To date, almost £18 million has been raised through presenting partner, Visa, corporate donors, patrons and ambassadors, ‘Our Team 2012’, a small and medium enterprise programme, and a public appeal.