Eight Olympic sports face uncertain futures after UK Sport, the government's funding body for elite sport in Britain, announced across the board cuts yesterday.
Fencing, handball, shooting, water polo, weightlifting, table tennis, volleyball and wrestling have all lost out after the government failed to procure £100m of private funding promised in the March 2006 Budget. All eight have yet to be told a confirmed figure for their funding.
An extra £21m from the Lottery and £29m from the exchequer halved the funding black hole but cuts of £50m had to be found. Athletics, which produced only one gold medal in Beijing with Christine Ohuruogu in the 400m, was a notable loser in yesterday's announcements by Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport. UK Athletics will have their budget reduced from £26.5m to £25.1m over the next four years.
UK Sport said that the allocations were based on a "no compromise" strategy of investment, with sports most likely to reap medals rewarded.
Hockey, taekwondo, boxing, archery, and synchronised swimming all benefited from the new budgets, but none more so than basketball, which received a 136 per cent increase from £3.7m to £8.7m. Rowing, which brought home six medals for Team GB, is the best funded Olympic sport, with £27.47m over the next four years.
Britain's cyclists were rewarded for their record medal haul of 14 in Beijing – which included eight golds – with a 21 per cent increase in funding, up from £22.1m to £26.9m. Sue Campbell, chair of UK Sport, said: "While it is disappointing that we are not today able to offer the full level of resources to all sports, we can only invest what we have available to us."
But Andy Hunt, the chief executive of the British Olympic Association, derided the package, saying: "It is disappointing that, despite extensive lobbying, we find ourselves three months after the most successful Olympics for Great Britain in 100 years, where the government has failed to honour their funding promise."Reuse content