- Annual investment review completed across all funded winter sports, following seven World medals won at 2015 World Championships
- Minor investment adjustments to Short Track Speed Skating and Figure Skating
- Responsibility for Short Track Speed Skating World Class Programme to transfer to EIS due to governance challenges within NISA
UK Sport, the nation’s high performance sports agency, has today (25 June 2015) announced that it will transfer responsibility for the management of, and associated investment into, the British Short Track Speed Skating World Class Programme from the National Ice Skating Association (NISA) to its science, medicine and technology subsidiary the English Institute of Sport (EIS).
Following the first Annual Investment Review for winter sports in the PyeongChang investment cycle, no sports have seen a significant change in investment levels*. However, due to challenges within the governance of the National Ice Skating Association (NISA), the governing body for both Short Track Speed Skating and Figure Skating, UK Sport has taken the decision that, in order to develop the significant medal potential of the Short Track athletes, the World Class Programme will be best led by the EIS, who already deliver sport science and medical support services to the sport**. The long term objective will be for UK Sport to work with NISA to improve its governance so that the programme can be reintegrated.
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The annual investment review process takes into consideration each sport’s performance against targets over the past year, as well as the governance of the sport. Sports are invited to discuss the annual investment review with a UK Sport panel where appropriate, which also includes independent scrutiny. Recommendations by the panel are taken to an internal investment board, but must ultimately be ratified by the Board of UK Sport, who met yesterday and approved this course of action.
Liz Nicholl, Chief Executive of UK Sport, said: “Good governance in sport is crucial to delivering world class performances at the top level. UK Sport is committed to driving this as a requirement of our public investment.
“Our talented British short track speed skaters have great potential and we are concerned the challenges currently faced by NISA could seriously hamper their prospects at the PyeongChang Games in 2018.
“We’ve not taken this decision lightly but feel the programme can go from strength to strength under the EIS’ leadership. We will work closely with NISA to address the governance challenges they are facing and will plan to reintegrate the programme once our concerns have been resolved and NISA is better positioned, once again, to take on the responsibility of managing the World Class Programme.”
Nigel Walker, National Director of the EIS, said: “The EIS has a number of our sport science and medicine practitioners working well with the short track athletes and coaches, so in order to safeguard those working practices and relationships it makes absolute sense for the EIS to lead the programme.
“Our focus will be on driving performance improvements and putting programme leadership in place which allows the athletes and coaches to thrive with a view to transitioning the programme back to the sport in the future at a time agreed by UK Sport and NISA.”
Commenting on the progress of our winter sports in 2015, where seven medals were won by British athletes at targeted events following the record breaking performances of Britain’s Olympians and Paralympians at Sochi 2014, Simon Timson, Director of Performance at UK Sport, said: “Sports often have to recalibrate in the year after an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as some established athletes retire and coaches and support staff move on to pursue different opportunities. The mixed results we saw last season are a reflection of this.
“However, 2015 still saw many of our National Lottery funded winter sport athletes break new ground; Lizzy Yarnold completed her title set with World Championship gold, Elise Christie became a double World silver medallist and our Para Alpine programme saw up and coming talent come to the fore, with Millie Knight and Ben Moore securing four World Championships medals in total.
“These are exciting times for British winter sport, especially with the introduction of new disciplines in Big Air and Mixed Doubles Curling now confirmed for PyeongChang 2018.”
*The indicative four year investment figures for Short Track Speed Skating and Figure Skating have been reduced as a result of the review and both sports remain on a one year award, as does Para Alpine Skiing. Bobsleigh’s one year award status has been removed.
**It was felt that due to the offshore delivery of the Figure Skating Programme it was not necessary to put the same governance arrangements in place for this discipline.
Download a breakdown of the winter sports’ achievements vs. targets in 2015 >