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 élite performers receiving Lottery funding for the next four years would be cut by more than half.

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 élite 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 £8.3m to £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 £75m funding package for Olympic sports in the build-up to Beijing 2008 - an overall £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 £3.6m to £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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
videoJapanese prepare for the afterlife by testing out coffins
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford attends Blade Runner at Target Presents AFI's Night at the Movies at ArcLight Cinemas on 24 April, 2013 in Hollywood, California
film... but Ridley Scott won't direct
Sport
Hughes is hit by a bouncer from Sean Abbott
cricketStephen Brenkley on batsman's tragic flaw that led to critical injury
Sport
Dejected England players applaud the fans following their team's 3-0 defeat
football

Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital