No medals, no money: UK Sport plays hardball with 2012 failures


The cheers of the crowd have barely died away but already minority sports that revelled in their moment in the Olympic sun are facing the realities of a tough future.

Britain fielded a handball team for the first time in the Olympics, while water polo returned for the first time in more than half a century. Neither is likely to feature as part of Team GB for the Rio Games in 2016, losing the funding they received to allow them to compete in London.

UK Sport, the body that distributes elite funding to Olympic sports, is in the process of determining how much each governing body should receive towards Rio – it has a pot of £508m to divide. Sports have to demonstrate that their teams or athletes are capable of winning medals in four years' time or, failing that, are able to qualify and finish in the top eight.

As the host nation Britain was able to enter every event in London, but for Rio sports like handball will have to qualify. Having lost every men's and women's match in London there is practically no chance of that. Under UK Sport's determined "no compromise" approach that means handball will not be funded again.

It is not only the "lesser" sports that face cuts. Swimming failed to meet its medal target and so will be given less public funding. It is a system that rewards success and it is one that has worked spectacularly well, helping deliver Britain's best Games result for more than a century.

Liz Nicholl, the chief executive of UK Sport, said: "Our aim is to make sure that when we make our Rio investments we invest in every sport that has medal potential. That for us is an absolute minimum. The starting point for handball and other sports that have been given host nation places is that they can qualify by right for the Olympics. If they can't be there they can't be supported to achieve a medal. That's what our no-compromise approach is about, that's the approach that works and we are not going to waver from that."

It is up to the governing bodies of handball, volleyball and water polo themselves to build on the publicity they garnered in London. UK Sport insists its role is to ensure Britain wins as many medals as possible – in other words it is entirely focused on elite sport. It is for each governing body to look to boost its profile, with the support of organisations like Sport England, which deals with grassroots sport and raising participation.

Ms Nicholl said: "Handball has had a fantastic opportunity to showcase its sport like never before. It has raised its profile and should attract a lot more participants – it should therefore generate more interest from the public and commercial sector. Every sport has to take responsibility itself for driving its own development to a point at which we can identify that it has a future medal opportunity. "We'd love to see in the future handball come through to where it can qualify by right. If they can show they can be on an upward trajectory to potential medals then we will be very happy to fund them. We will not be able to fund every sport."

Game over: The biggest losers


2012 funding £2,924,721

2012 performance Both the men's and women's team lost every game

2016 prospects Unlikely to receive any central funding towards the Rio Games

Water polo

2012 funding £2,928,039

2012 performance Men's and women's teams both finished last

2016 prospects Unlikely to receive any central funding towards Rio


2012 funding £25,144,600

2012 performance One silver and two bronze medals left them short of their target of five to seven medals

2016 prospects Will still receive sizeable funding for Rio but not at the same level as for London

Related article from London's Evening Standard...

Tom Daley: I want gold in 2016, I'll be at my peak then

Suggested Topics
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little