Britain’s boxers and rowers are the big winners as UK Sport announces its 2016 Olympic funding programme – but five sports have had their funding cut.
Handball, basketball, table tennis and wrestling have all lost their financial backing in this record round of £347m funding, an 11 per cent increase on London 2012.
Funding for boxing has been given a 44 per cent increase, as one of 18 sports that have benefited from the boost. British Baskteball received the bad news that it would not receive funding as part of UK Sport’s Project Rio awards, but the body has suggested it will appeal the decision.
Paralympic funding has been given a 43 per cent boost, with swimming, athletics and cycling all set to benefit, while archery and powerlifting have now been cut.
The distribution of funds was based on sports meeting their medal targets for London 2012. Boxers took home five medals with a 10-person team, to secure its big boost.
Swimming missed its target of between five to seven medals, taking just three. Its funding has been cut by almost 15 per cent as a result. Rowing has held on to its position as Britain’s best funded sport with over £32m in funding, an increase of nearly 20 per cent.
UK Sport now expects Team GB to take home 66 Olympic medals and 121 Paralympic medals from Rio in 2016, a tiny increase on this year’s haul of 65 and 120 respectively.
The top four funded Olympic sports are now: rowing at £32m, cycling £30m, athletics £26m and sailing £24.5m. For Paralympic events the top-funded events are swimming at £11m, athletics £10m and cycling £6.7m.
Volleyball was given just over £3.5m in the build-up to London 2012 but will now receive just £400,000, which is to be spent on women’s beach volleyball.
Chief executive of UK Sport Liz Nicholl has stated that: “We want to be the first nation in recent history to be more successful in the Olympics and Paralympics post-hosting.”
“Today will be good news for some and it will be painful for others who haven’t met the criteria. They are very disappointed but I think some of these sports have to improve their base, their competition structure, and drive up competition before they can really compete for medals at a world level.”
Ms Nicholls highlighted the example of hockey, which had its funding cut and managed to made a healthy recovery, suggesting that sports lacking funding should follow its example.