OLYMPIC GAMES: Challenge for athletes as UK Sport drops the cash baton

BRITISH ATHLETICS was yesterday coming to terms with a bizarre windfall from its Olympic successes in Athens as UK Sport announced that the number of elite performers receiving Lottery funding for the next four years would be cut by more than half.

UK Athletics will see its financial support reduced from pounds 8.3m to pounds 7.2m, with the total of competitors receiving financial aid dropping from 82 to 40. This will constitute a challenge for Dave Collins, the new performance director of UK Athletics, when he takes up his post in March.

Athletics had set a target of between five and seven medals in Athens. They earned four - a bronze from Kelly Sotherton, and golds from the men's sprint relay team and Kelly Holmes in the 800 and 1500m.

"We are disappointed at receiving less funding," Dave Moorcroft, chief executive of UK Athletics, said, "particularly as one of the stated aims of the British Olympic Association is to get into the top five nations in the world by the time of the Beijing Games, and in Athens we were either third in terms of medals or fifth on points. So we feel we've done our bit, and to be rewarded with less money is disappointing."

UK Sport has announced a pounds 75m funding package for Olympic sports in the build-up to Beijing 2008 - an overall pounds 5m increase - but are now financing fewer medal hopefuls and also targeting sports with the best chances of winning medals in four years' time.

The fact is, however, that more British athletes won gold in Athens than in any previous Games since those in Los Angeles in 1984. And the benefit to the sport of the victories earned by Holmes and the men's relay team have been, in terms of profile, enormous.

"The medals we expected we didn't get, and the medals we didn't expect we got. That is the unpredictable nature of this sport," Moorcroft said, adding that, had the numbers of competitors eligible for Lottery funding been at its new level before the Athens Games, it would have been "quite likely" that Sotherton, who made huge, late improvements after switching from long jump to heptathlon in 2003, would not have been supported.

The other big loser was gymnastics, which saw its funding reduced from pounds 3.6m to pounds 1.8m, and its competitors supported from 14 to eight. The sport had a target of three medals in Athens, but failed to win any.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas