New sports backed by Aspiration Fund to support ambitions for Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics

Published 7 December 2018

beach volleyball 2012 Getty Images

  • New Olympic sports of skateboarding, surfing and softball to receive investment
  • Wheelchair rugby given maximum investment of £500,000
  • Total of 14 sport to receive funding from Aspiration Fund including badminton, fencing and table tennis
  • Aspiration Fund designed to help support athletes and sports to qualify and prepare for Tokyo 2020

A total of 14 Olympic and Paralympic sports including skateboarding, surfing and wheelchair rugby have received investment from the new £3 million Aspiration Fund to help support their ambitions to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

The Aspiration Fund, which was announced by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in October this year, aims to support sports who do not currently receive full UK Sport funding to develop plans to help teams and athletes realise ambitions for the Tokyo Games.

Sports eligible to apply for the fund include all the unfunded summer Olympic and Paralympic sports, new sports for Tokyo 2020 and those currently in receipt of individual athlete medal support plan funding from UK Sport.

Following a UK Sport Board meeting earlier this week it was decided that skateboarding, surfing and softball, which are all new additions to the Olympic programme for Tokyo, would receive investment from the fund marking the first time they have ever received UK Sport funding.

Climbing and karate, the other new sports for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, currently receive UK Sport individual athlete medal support plan funding but are both backed with additional investment from the fund.

Funding will also go to the Olympic sports of badminton, archery, beach volleyball, fencing, artistic swimming and table tennis.

There is a huge boost for Paralympic sports as wheelchair rugby receive £500,000 which is the maximum investment from the Fund for a team sport. In addition, the Paralympic sport of goalball will receive investment.

A further £118,496 will be held by UK Sport to consider investments for sports to attend qualification events where appropriate e.g. women’s basketball.
The move comes after UK Sport and the DCMS announced a unique funding support package of £500,000 for British Basketball in May this year which is currently being given to the sport in instalments.

Alongside their qualification plan, sports seeking funding were asked to submit details of how they will capitalise on the impact of competing at the Games and engage and inspire future generations.

Grants from the Aspiration Fund are capped at £500k for team sports and £275k for individual sports while they will run to the end of the Tokyo 2020 cycle.
Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport said: “This new Aspiration Fund is a fantastic opportunity for these athletes and sports to get on track for the Tokyo Games.

“Many of the sports we are currently unable to support, whilst further away from reaching the podium, have the potential not only to inspire through their performances on the field of play but also to inspire new audiences to engage in sport and activity.

“We’d like to thank the Government for their continued support for UK Sport’s mission to inspire the nation through Olympic and Paralympic success.”

Sport  Award Amount (£) 
Archery   192,500
Badminton   259,679
Beach Volleyball  68,750
Climbing  192,500
Fencing  192,500
Goalball  125,000
Karate  68,750
Skateboarding   166,825
Softball  62,500 
Surfing  192,500
Artistic Swimming  192,500
Table Tennis  275,000
Weightlifting  192,500
Wheelchair Rugby  500,000
Unallocated 118,496 

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Funding Partners
  • Department for Culture, Media & Sport
Official Partners
  • BAE Systems
  • BUPA
Strategic Partners
  • British Olympic Association
  • Paralympics GB
  • Sport England
  • Sport Northern Ireland
  • Sport Wales
  • Sport Scotland