Outrage at funding cuts to Olympic sports


Rio 2016 was Great Britain’s best medal haul at an Olympic Games since 1908 with athletes from a variety of sports becoming instant heroes. One of the greatest thing about the Olympics is that it provides a platform for minority sports, which may usually not be exposed to large audiences. However, last week UK Sport announced controversial funding plans for the 2020 Tokyo games which has left five sports without any funding whatsoever.

Badminton, fencing, archery, weightlifting and the Paralympic sport wheelchair rugby have all missed out. Overall £345M has been allocated to Tokyo 2020 which is around £2M less than what was assigned to Rio. Undoubtedly the biggest shock was badminton losing their funding. After overachieving by securing a bronze medal in the men’s doubles, they saw the entirety of their £5.7M stripped.

Former badminton Olympic medallist Gail Emms has described the decision as a ‘disgrace’ and badminton are in the process of appealing the decision. Some people have also been quick to point out the inconsistencies with the funding as Judo achieved the same number of medals as badminton, yet saw their funding increased.

CEO of UK Sport Liz Nicholl said the decision was not made lightly and the organisation has to prioritise Great Britain’s’ medal potential. UK Sport raises funds for the games from Government contributions and the National Lottery.

Fencing also performed slightly better than expected and were just a handful of points away from medalling. The Great Britain weightlifting team described themselves as ‘shocked and devastated’ at the announcement. Team GB have been set an overall target of 51-85 Olympic medals, and 115-162 Paralympic medals in Tokyo.

With five new sports entering Tokyo 2020, (Baseball, Sport Climbing, Karate, Surfing and Skateboarding) those who have suffered funding cuts will be keeping a close eye on what funding they will receive when their allocations are released.

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