British sports prepare to learn Rio 2016 funding fate
Monday, 17 December 2012
December 17 - British sports are preparing to learn their funding fate for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games with UK Sport set to make its awards announcement tomorrow.
Planning for these decisions, which will be announced at its London headquarters, began more than 12 months ago and UK Sport said the process has been more detailed and robust than ever before.
Analyses of each Olympic and Paralympic sport's performance potential for Rio 2016 has been presented to UK Sport's board over the past week and the agency says it is focused on directing support to the "right athletes for the right reasons" in the next Olympic and Paralympic cycle.
"UK Sport will invest National Lottery and Exchequer funds in Britain's Olympic and Paralympic sports and athletes to maximise their chances of continuing success on the world stage as we move forward to Rio 2016," said UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl.
"Investment will be targeted where it has the greatest chance of succeeding using our 'No Compromise' philosophy, which sets out to reinforce the best, support those developing and challenge the under-performing.
"UK Sport aims to support all sports and athletes deemed to have medal potential in Rio 2016 or 2020, regardless of whether they are individual or team disciplines.
"We focus on the performance potential of the sport and its nominated athletes and it is this approach which has driven the development of a high performance system that is admired around the world for delivering outstanding results at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games."
Fears are growing that team sports such as handball and volleyball, which proved hugely popular with the British public at London 2012, could take the biggest hit as they are not considered realistic Rio 2016 medal prospects.
Great Britain handball player Mark Hawkins hopes the sport will not have its funding cut by UK Sport but admitted that the sport is not overly confident ahead of the announcement.
"It is a really big day for the future," Hawkins told BBC Sussex.
"The whole mantra of London 2012 was 'inspire a generation' and starting a legacy.
"Handball is definitely a sport which can be part of that legacy.
"We are really hoping it is positive news but unfortunately it might not be."
Nicholl added that all the decisions are being taken on a "meritocratic" basis.
"The process for deciding funding for Rio 2016 is based on an assessment of relative merit and has been the most exhaustive UK Sport has ever undertaken," she explained.
"The work with sports to help build their business cases began over 12 months ago.
"Over recent months our internal investment panel has considered each business case and the performance potential of the cohort of athletes each sport has within its programme to inform investment recommendations.
"We are confident that our decisions are being taken on a meritocratic basis.
"I can also confirm that over the last year there has been greater dialogue between UK Sport, Sport England and the Home Country Sports Councils to ensure improved connectivity and alignment of investments.
"This should help sports develop more seamless pathways from grassroots through to elite level.
"The current approach allows every Olympic and Paralympic sport to have the opportunity to build a case for public and National Lottery investment based on a range of criteria from participation, through to talent development and performance."