January 30 - Amber Charles, who memorably proved one of the stars of the successful London 2012 bid presentation in Singapore eight years ago, has pleaded with UK Sport to reconsider their decision to cut funding for British Basketball with the two organisations having met to discuss the issue today.
The East Londoner was just 15-years-old when she joined the London 2012 bid team, headed by Sebastian Coe, in Singapore and she was credited with being one of the shining stars in the cities' presentation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Charles had ambitions to represent Team GB in basketball at Rio 2016 but fears that her dream could be over unless UK Sport reverse their decision to cut funding.
British Basketball was the biggest loser in UK Sport's Rio 2016 funding announcement that followed London 2012 as it saw its four-year funding of £8.6 million ($13.6 million/€10.6 million) in the lead-up London 2012 fall to zero.
"As many of you may remember I was an Ambassador for the London 2012 Olympic bid back in 2005," said Charles in a letter to UK Sport.
"I was just 15 at the time and as you can imagine being alongside David Beckham, Lord Coe and people like Denise Lewis was an incredible experience for a young girl from East London.
"These are memories which are precious to me and will stay with me forever.
"Almost eight years on and I am now studying in my final year of University in Tennessee on a basketball scholarship.
"London 2012 made me even more determined to follow my dreams and my ambition now - as it was even back then in 2005 - is to make the GB basketball team for Rio 2016.
"But I am utterly dismayed and shocked by the decision by UK Sport to cut funding to the GB Basketball programme to zero.
"I just do not understand how all the great work of the 2012 Games - with so much focus on legacy – can then mean my sport being cast aside so soon after London 2012.
"Without UK Sport funding, GB Basketball is dead and my dream to compete in Rio 2016 is over.
"I please urge you to do whatever you can to help reverse the short sighted decision by UK Sport and help to keep the inspiration of London 2012 alive for young people like me."
Basketball was one of several sports that presented to UK Sport today in a bid to see their funding restored.
Handball, volleyball, wheelchair fencing and wrestling were the other disciplines stating their case to UK Sport as they asked the high performance agency to restore their funding after having it axed in the Rio 2016 announcement last year.
The other governing body to challenge December's financial award is British Triathlon, which despite a 3.9 per cent increase, believes the Brownlee brothers' Olympic gold and bronze medals merited a more favourable award.
Each national governing body was granted a 30-40-minute slot in front of the UK Sport Board to make their case while they will learn whether they have been successful or not by Friday (February 1).
Depending on the outcome of this meeting, the sports will decide about lodging a formal appeal, which would be heard by the Sport Dispute Resolution Panel.
"We would like to thank the Board of UK Sport for giving us this opportunity to present our case," said British Basketball performance chairman Roger Moreland after the meeting.
"We have believed all along that we have a strong and compelling case for basketball and we are grateful for all the fantastic support we have received so far.
"We will wait to hear from UK Sport before making a decision about a formal appeal but we feel confident and optimistic about the outcome after today's presentation."
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